Mojave, CA

Visiting the Hottest Place on Earth - Death Valley

Anne Bonfert

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Death ValleyMatteo Di Iorio/ Unsplash

Deserts all around the world have taught humans how to live in such hostile environments. Adapting to the surroundings let them survive next to the toughest animals. Some deserts are drier than others, some are made of ice, and others are named to be the hottest places on earth. Next to the deserts in the Middle East and the Sahara, the northern Mojave Desert in Eastern California is considered to be one of the hottest places on earth in summer.

The Death Valley is such a desert valley where temperatures get caught in between rock walls and rise into the unbearable. It is located in the Great Basin Desert and has the lowest elevation in North America with 282 feet below sea level. While it is seemingly such a low point on earth it is at the same time located right next to one of the highest points in the States. Mount Whitney is just 80 miles west of Death Valley and rises above 14,000 feet. These extreme differences in altitude cause some extreme weather conditions where it might be incredibly hot in the valley while heavy thunderstorms are ranging in the mountains causing some heavy flush floods down in the valley.

This desert valley is located inside the Death Valley National Park which includes a few mountain ranges which also rise already above 10,000 feet. The Amargosa River that is flowing through part of the valley is eventually disappearing in the sand of the valley. Salt pans are also located inside the Death Valley which had been created thousands of years ago when this area was originally a massive lake. When the surroundings turned into a desert landscape, the water evaporated and left an abundance of salt behind.

The climate today in the Death Valley is characterized by a hot desert climate with mild winters, little rainfall, and extremely hot summers. Temperatures in summer are averaging above 120 °F. Flash floods have caused over the years some damage and created ephemeral lakes at the basin of the valley.

The park is popular among tourists and locals due to its extreme weather and landscape features. Visitors come to explore the area in their vehicles or to go on hikes in the stunning surroundings. One can look for wildlife on the slopes of the valley or get lucky when visiting the canyon in springtime and wildflowers are sprouting out of the soil from all sides. To experience a "super bloom" in the desert is rare but incredibly amazing to witness.

Currently, the State of California has sent out warnings for the Death Valley National Park regarding extreme heat and flash floods caused by heavy rains in the last few days.

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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