San Diego, CA
Unearthly World - Death Valley's Badlands
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Death Valley is a land of beautiful yet dangerous extremes. Its story begins and ends with water.
The devil owns a lot of real estate in Death Valley's 3.3 million acres: he grows crops at Devil's Cornfield and hits the links at Devil's Golf Course. In fact, the park is home to Hell's Gate itself. The area's extreme heat and surreal landscape make it inhospitable enough to belong to the dark side. Winter temperatures dip well below freezing in the mountains, and summer readings in the valley average 115 F. The second-highest temperature ever recorded in the world (134 F in the shade) was measured at the valley's Furnace Creek Ranch on July 10, 1913. The temperature of the rocks and soil can be as high as 74 degrees Celsius.
Coffin Peak, Starvation Canyon, Dead Man Pass, Zabriskie Point badlands - Death Valley is clearly a place with a bad history, a good example of the violence of nature where people are losing their lives every year. "This is a harsh environment in summer and any situation can easily become life-threatening," begins a pamphlet distributed by the Death Valley National Park Service. How true!
However, this extremely hot and forbidding land is strangely beautiful with many colorful rocks and canyons, miles of pristine sand dunes, unique evaporative salt features, unearthly, bone-dry, finely-sculpted, golden brown rock badlands, and even a diverse range of wildlife.
April 8th, 2011
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