Death Valley

Ibex Dunes Death ValleyDeath Valley is the lowest spot in North America

The valley is a long, narrow basin 282 feet (86 m) below sea level

It is home to more than 1,000 kinds of plants

Some plants residing on the valley floor have roots that go down 10 times the height of a person

Death Valley is home to 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, and 5 species and 1 subspecies of native fishes.

Yearly precipitation consistently averaged about 1.6 inches of rain for the first 65 years of record keeping.

The last 30 years has seen an increase, averaging 2.5 inches of rain a year. The 95-year average is now just under two inches a year.

There have been some years of no recorded rainfall at all.

The highest mountain in Death Valley National Park is 11,049 foot Telescope Peak. The vertical drop from the peak to the Badwater Basin is twice the depth of Grand Canyon.

134° F is the hottest recorded temperature (July 10, 1913)

The greatest number of consecutive days with a maximum temperature of 100° F or above was 154 days in the summer of 2001.

The summer of 1996 had 40 days over 120° F, and 105 days over 110° F.

The summer of 1917 had 43 consecutive days with a high temperature of 120° F or above.

The highest ground temperature recorded was 201° F at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. The maximum air temperature for that day was 128° F.

Ground temperature on the valley floor is about 40% higher than the surrounding air temperature.

Higher elevations are cooler than the low valley. Temperatures drop 3° to 5° F with every thousand vertical feet.

Data: National Park Service

About The Author

Scott serves as Director of Development & Communications for Audubon Canyon Ranch (focusing on preservation, education and conservation science) and has almost fifteen years of experience spanning for-profit and nonprofit sectors in biotech, wildlife conservation and management, communications, and philanthropy. In addition to a strong track record in organizational growth and leadership, he is the founder of Urban Bird Foundation and Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, and presided over ECHO Fund, a coastal protection and restoration organization, as President for four years. Scott holds an M.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Policy, degrees in Micro & Molecular Biology and Environmental Sciences, and has complemented his studies with a Master's certificate in Environmental Resource Management.

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