Death Valley National ParkPhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Extreme Desert

Death Valley National Park is a mostly arid park located east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. It covers 5,219 square miles, encompassing Saline Valley, a large part of Panamint Valley, almost all of Death Valley.

Here, sand dunes stream along hillsides, with snow-capped mountains visible in the distance. Add to that, multicolored rock layers, water-fluted canyons and three million acres of rocky wilderness. All this is exists because the natural environment was profoundly shaped by geology.

The area’s oldest rocks are at least 1.7 billion years old. At that time, ancient shallow seas deposited marine sediments. Eventually, these sediments lifted the region and created a line of volcanoes. Later, the crust pulled apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during ice ages, with lakes.

Death Valley summers are extremely hot and dry, with temperatures commonly above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, the area is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Examples include Creosote Bush, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, and the Death Valley Pupfish. Photographers visit to capture the area’s diverse geologic features, desert wildlife, clear night skies and the solitude of the extreme desert environment.

Explore with Cornforth Images.