What is the Hottest Place in the World?
If you thought that there could be no other place hotter than Delhi with temperatures soaring up to 48 degree Celsius, you will change your opinion by the time you are done reading this article. There are certain places on Earth that are far, far hotter than Delhi in May and where the temperature gets too extreme to bear. The World Meteorological Organization has officially recognized Death Valley as the world’s hottest place on earth.
Where is Death Valley Located?
Death Valley is a desert valley located within the Mojave Desert in California. It is a vast expanse of land covering about 3000 sq miles. The area was conferred with the title of ‘Death Valley’ during the California Gold Rush in 1849 by the travellers who were trying to cross the valley to reach the gold fields. The extreme temperature and harsh environmental conditions at the valley probably made it so difficult for people to survive the journey that at the end of the journey, one of the harassed travellers blurted out inadvertently, “Goodbye, Death Valley,” and his words became immortal in history.
How Hot is Death Valley?
Death Valley has such an arid climate because it is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Hot and dry air gets trapped in the valley, converting it into a natural furnace. Because of this reason, high temperatures are pretty common in this area. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134°F (57.1°C) at Furnace Creek on 10th July, 1913.
Interesting Facts about Death Valley
Death Valley has certain salt pans also which indicate that the area was once a large inland sea during the ancient times. As the Earth began to warm up in the due course of time, the lake in Death Valley evaporated to what it is today.
A name like Death Valley can trigger your imagination, making you believe it to be a place with a highly dangerous environment where survival is a real challenge. Can you imagine living in an area that experiences just a miniscule half an inch of average annual rainfall? In 1929, the valley did not experience any rainfall at all. Actually what happens is that most water from whatever clouds pass through this region, gets evaporated before reaching the ground because of the immense heat.
Death Valley brims with more life than you would ever imagine! Most of the vegetation in Death Valley consists of Joshua trees and bristlecone pines that are found near Death Valley’s higher locations. Death Valley is generous enough to give shelter to some small mammals, birds and reptiles.
Death Valley mammal residents include bighorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, kit foxes and mountain lions. An intriguing lodger of this valley is the Death Valley pupfish which survives in the small water bodies present in the valley.
Death Valley is also home to the most iconic of desert birds—the roadrunner, the loveable star of the ‘Loony Tunes’ show. This bird is a major tourist attraction at the Death Valley National Park Visitor Centre, where you can see these enigmatic birds from large glass windows. The glass windows are necessary from a safety point of view, because unlike their cartoon counterparts, the real life roadrunners are skilled hunters that are always looking to get some fresh meat. Scary, isn’t it?
The main human inhabitants of Death Valley belong to the Native American Timbisha tribe that first settled here over a thousand years ago, and still continue to live there. These people earn their living by engaging in silver or borax mining, small-scale ranching and gardening, and some indigenous handicrafts.
If you think that no person in his right mind would ever want to visit a place with such a frightful name as ‘Death Valley,’ you are wrong! Every year, thousands of people visit Death Valley to come face to face with the extreme limits of nature. Death Valley has the most amazing landscapes in the world.
In 1994, President Clinton signed an Act which changed the status of Death Valley to a national park. Mosaic Canyon that is covered with multi coloured, layered rocks is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Death Valley. Then there is ‘Devil’s Golf Course’, a unique ‘salt pan’ region, where groundwater continually seeps to the surface and evaporates immediately, leaving behind salt crystals. Walking across a terrain like this is a real ankle buster, and what a nightmare it would be for golfers to play here!
‘Bad Water’ is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere where water is extremely saline. When in Death Valley, you must also visit some of the famous ancient structures that were built around the 1920s, like Scotty’s Castle. Death Valley’s Racetrack is another location that enraptures the tourists’ attention. It is a place where rocks weighing several hundred pounds skid as far as 600 feet or more across the smooth surface, forming interesting tracks.
Artist Palette is a place where you would get to see an amazing display of all kinds of colours. As the old rocks wither away, their sediments splash the area with a wonderful variety of vibrant hues of green, purple, mustard, and orange. There are many more such interesting places to visit in the Death Valley, so do not ever get intimidated by Death Valley’s name. It is a ‘must-see’ place!
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