Death Valley Explodes into Wildflower Superbloom

Death Valley in the Mojave Desert is usually known for being one of the hottest places on Earth. In fact, it is considered the driest and hottest area in the entire North American continent. In a rare turn of events, the desert valley in Eastern California has come back to life in an explosive wildflower superbloom.

Rare wildflower Superbloom Event

The last time a ‘superbloom’ event occured in Death Valley was back in February 2005, exactly 11 years ago. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was  56.7 °C (134 °F) in July 1913. This may be the hottest atmospheric temperature ever recorded on Earth. The arid desert climate means that rainfall is limited, which makes millions of blooming flowers an extremely rare occurence. The superbloom is a result of record-breaking rainfall in October last year.

Death Valley wildflower superbloom event of 2005.
The superbloom of 2005. Photo by Greg Willis (Creative Commons).

Gold Flower Carpet

There are currently about 20 different species of plants flowering in Death Valley, although one particular species seems to stick out. This flower is called the ‘Desert Gold’ and looks a little bit like a yellow daisy. The Desert Gold has covered the desert in a vast carpet of bright yellow hues.

Death Valley National Park #superbloom in front of the Black Mountains. #deathvalley #california #wildflowers

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Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Park Ranger Alan Van Valkenburg explains the details behind Death Valley’s temporary superbloom in an official video podcast from Death Valley National Park. He calls a visit to the blooming valley a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and a “privilege”. A desert superbloom may only occur once every decade (if we’re lucky), since conditions need to be absolutely perfect.

Temporary show

If you are anywhere near the California area and/or plan to go on a trip to Death Valley, you might want to pay a visit as soon as possible. Depending on the temperatures and wind, the flowers may only last until mid-March. Other more optimistic predictions estimate the flowers to last until somewhere between early April and late May.

Death Valley in bloom, February 2016.
Photo by Marc Cooper, taken February 21, 2016 (Creative Commons).

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