Death Valley is one of those places in the world that’s appropriately named. The hottest place on Earth, this desert frequently heats up to temperatures around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet this spring, it’s home to a sudden explosion of millions of wildflowers. Many call it a 'super bloom.'
Alan Van Valkenburg, local park ranger, said while ‘super bloom’ isn’t a technical term, it’s what long-time residents of the area use to describe the beautiful colors. “When I first came to work here in the early 1990s I kept hearing the old timers talk about super blooms as a near mythical thing – the ultimate possibility of what a desert wildflower bloom could be… I saw my first super bloom in 1998. Then I understood. I never imagined that so much life could exist here in such staggering abundance and intense beauty,” he said.
The normally brown, barren valley is now lushly carpeted with yellow, pink, and purple wildflowers. Valkenburg said numerous amounts of seeds are always present in the valley, but they won’t grow unless conditions are just right.
According to the National Park Service, the finest bloom the dry valley has seen in a decade occurred as a result of El Niño. Weather patterns last autumn caused extreme rainfall for the valley: they estimate that in one five-hour period, three inches of rain fell. Typically the area gets only two inches in an entire year.
“At first glance you are blown away by the sheer numbers of flowers, then on closer inspection the diversity of species will draw you in,” Valkenburg said.
Although El Niño caused floods and damaging rain, it also caused this natural wonder – a kind of natural balancing act, perhaps?
Via Discovery News
Images via Death Valley National Park Facebook