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Death Valley National Park: Land of Extremes
Death Valley National Park preserves pristine but desolate land that
Credit: Greg Clure, National Park Service

This recently released dramatic photo of Death Valley reveals the area’s largely barren sand dunes in a land of extremes, but there are signs of life, too.

Within Death Valley National Park, an area called Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the United Sates, at 282 feet below sea level.

Rain is rare in Death Valley. The average rainfall is less than 2 inches a year. Some years it doesn’t rain at all. Rains bring a bloom of wildflowers, and in fact there are more than 1,000 types of plants in the valley, some with roots more than 50 feet deep.

Death Valley is the hottest place in the United States, but not the world. In July 1913, the valley hit 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57°C) at what is now Furnace Creek Ranch. That was a global record then, but since then a new record was set in Libya for the hottest place on Earth.