Death Valley National Park has a rare bloom of wildflowers
There hasn't been a "superbloom" in the desert park since 2005
Death Valley National Park, one of the hottest places on Earth, is experiencing a rare occurrence fit for the record books.
Despite its inhospitable climate, the below-sea-level basin in Furnace Creek, California – about 150 miles west of Las Vegas – is now teeming with millions of blooming wildflowers.
The desert valley hasn’t seen this many blooms since 2005 because the area receives very little rain, with an annual average of 2 inches. Summer temperatures in the valley, which contains the lowest point in the United States, can sizzle to approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with a nighttime low about 90 degrees.
Death Valley’s colorful flower blanket began budding due to a perfect combination of the elements: periodic rainfall, solar warmth and reduced winds. El Niño, a climate cycle, has also brought more rain than usual to the valley.
The array of colorful flowers includes the pale white gravel ghost and the staple desert gold, which turns the valley floor into a sea of yellow.
Twitter and Instagram users who have visited Death Valley in recent days have been calling the phenomenon a “superbloom,” the term for when a large amount of flowers bloom in an area.
Death Valley is known for being an area of extremes, with its oases filled with tiny fish and its brittle cracked ground surrounded by snow-topped mountains.
The National Park Service said the flowers began blooming a few days ago and said they are expected to stay as long as it rains.
During National Park Week (April 16-24), Death Valley will be free to the public. So park visitors won’t have to pay the $20 vehicle fee ($10 for visitors riding bikes or on foot).