Death Valley is hotter than the Sahara
Suddenly a large lake appeared in Death Valley - or something like that
Death Valley in California is famous for being one of the hottest, driest places on earth. You would not normally expect any lakes in this region southeast of the Sierra Nevada - and yet an unusually large pool of water has recently formed on the edge of the Mojave Desert and 86 meters below the average sea level.
Since it is a passing phenomenon, it is a stroke of luck that people with cameras were in the right place at the right time to capture the impressive consequences of a heavy rainy season. "The scenery looks downright surreal", says photographer Elliott McGucken. "To see such a large amount of water in what is otherwise the driest place in the world is extraordinary."
So many records
Death Valley in the US National Park of the same name is the scene of several heat records: On July 10, 1913, Furnace Creek was 56.7 degrees Celsius the highest ever registered air temperature measured. The highest ground temperature ever recorded on earth was also determined in this region: 93.9 degrees Celsius the underground was hot here on July 15, 1972. Also, Death Valley holds that Record for the warmest month Anyway: In July 2018 the average temperature was 42.3 degrees Celsius - mind you day and night.
Under such extreme conditions, it takes rare circumstances for a notable lake to form here. In an average March, hardly more than seven millimeters of rain fall in the area of Furnace Creek. On March 7, 2019, however - a day that can be anything but normal - came within 24 hours 22 millimeters from the sky. This corresponds to about three times the annual amount. In the neighboring mountains even rain amounts of 38 millimeters were measured.
Extreme circumstances lead to lake formation
That may not sound like much by European standards, in this country this precipitation would quickly seep into the ground. The dry desert soil of Death Valley, on the other hand, has a hard time absorbing this amount of water. The result is that under such extreme conditions, large, shallow pools quickly form on the surface - the very phenomenon whose images have recently spread in numerous social media.
Opinions differ on the final dimensions: The education officer of the Patrick Taylor National Park believesthat the body of water was 16 kilometers long, making it the largest lake in the valley that he had ever seen. Park spokeswoman Abby Wines against it declared in the "Los Angeles Times"that the water accumulation was a series of ponds interrupted by dry spots. (tberg, March 23, 2019)
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