Context: A sprawling temporary lake at Badwater Basin salt flats, caused by flooding from Tropical Storm Hilary, at the Death Valley National Park in California. The storm delivered a year’s worth of rain to the valley, which is the hottest place on the Earth, in a single day. The Badwater basin itself is located 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in USA.
Death Valley National Park
- Death Valley is a desert valley in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert, bordering the Great Basin Desert.
- Death Valley is the largest U.S. National Park outside Alaska at 3,422,024 acres.
- Even so, 93% of the park is protected as officially designated Wilderness.
- It is the hottest, driest, and lowest of all the national parks in the United States.
- This wild country includes low valley floors crusted with barren salt flats, rugged mountains rising as much as 11,000 feet, deep and winding canyons, rolling sand dunes, and spring-fed oases.
- The Timbisha Shoshone Indians lived here for centuries before the first white man entered the valley.
- UNESCO included Death Valley as the principal feature of its Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve in 1984.
- Flora and Fauna: –Death Valley is the hottest and driest places in North America, yet it is home to over 1000 species of plants and 440 species of animals.
- Common plant species
- At lower elevations, creosote bush, desert holly, and mesquite can be found.
- Shadscale, blackbrush, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper can be found at higher elevations.
- Sub-alpine limber pine and bristlecone pine woodlands can be found at higher elevations.
- Common Animal Species
- Coyotes, ravens, roadrunners, ground squirrels, Desert bighorn sheep, Kangaroo rats, Western Pipistrelle, Devils Hole Pupfish, and lizards.
- Rivers: – The Amargosa is the only free-flowing river in the Death Valley region of the Mojave, providing a rare and lush riparian area in the desert.