11 Facts About Death Valley


Death Valley is a desert valley in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert, bordering the Great Basin Desert.

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Death Valley is a graben—a downdropped block of land between two mountain ranges.

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Death Valley has a subtropical, hot desert climate, with long, extremely hot summers; short, mild winters; and little rainfall.

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Death Valley is extremely dry, because it lies in the rain shadow of four major mountain ranges.

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Extreme heat of Death Valley is attributable to a confluence of geographic and topographic factors.

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Severe heat and dryness contribute to perpetual drought-like conditions in Death Valley and prevent much cloud formation from passing through the confines of the valley, where precipitation is often in the form of a virga.

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In 2005, Death Valley received four times its average annual rainfall of 1.

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Darwin Falls, on the western edge of Death Valley Monument, falls 100 feet into a large pond surrounded by willows and cottonwood trees.

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Efflorescence, known as salt flowers, is a rare occurrence in Death Valley that occurs when rain soaks into the soil and dissolves salt beneath the surface causing the ground to appear as if there is a light dusting of snow.

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Death Valley is home to the Timbisha tribe of Native Americans, formerly known as the Panamint Shoshone, who have inhabited the valley for at least the past millennium.

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Death Valley received its English name in 1849 during the California Gold Rush.

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