While it might sound like an oxymoron, Death Valley is bursting to life.
Thanks to a perfect combination of seasonal rains and mild temperatures, Death Valley National Park, the spot that holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth, is experiencing a “super bloom” — an event that happens about once every 10 years where an abundance of wildflowers bloom throughout the park, blanketing the normally barren desert landscape in color.
The park hasn’t seen an event like this since 2005. Death Valley normally receives about 2 inches of rainfall in any particular year, but in October 2015 it saw three unusual storms in quick succession that dropped more than 3 inches.
As a result, dormant wildflower seeds were awoken, and the winter rains that have continued to occasionally hit the park have been enough to bring millions of wildflowers to life.
“I never imagined that so much life could exist here in such staggering abundance and intense beauty,” Alan Van Valkenburg, a park ranger who has lived in Death Valley for 25 years, told Al Jazeera.
That sentiment seems to be shared online by those who have visited the park, many of whom used the hashtag #superbloom to document all of Death Valley’s floral beauty:
A rare 'super bloom' of wildflowers in Death Valley National Park has covered the hottest and driest place in North America with a carpet of gold, attracting tourists from all over the world and enchanting visitors with a stunning example of nature’s paint brush. The display happens about once every 10 years and the last time tourists saw so many spring wildflowers was in 2005. Photo taken on February 24th 2016. Credit:AP/Jae C. Hong #wildflowers #Badwaterbasin #Deathvalley #superbloom #spring #California #America
Did you take our advice and go see the #superbloom at @deathvalleynps this weekend? We loved this shot from @heylovine. Be sure to tag your super bloom adventures with #travelnevada or #dfmi so we can share. Side note: we know *most* of Death Valley is in California, but we still have a little slice and like to share the love a little. Plus, the best way to get to the park is #NevadaSide through Beatty. #DFMI: @heylovine #DontFenceMeIn #DeathValley #DeathValleyNationalPark #FlowersForDays #Wildflowers #HelloSpring #BeyondVegas #Nevada #NV
Death Valley is the hottest and driest place on the North American continent. Once every ten years or so it gets enough rain for this rare super bloom of flowers. Through the dirt and rocks spring up thousands of beautiful flowers. No matter how barren you are feeling with the right elements you too can experience a super bloom. If this dry, hot as hell place can experience such beauty. So can you. When you're feeling lonely or sad or as empty as a desert, rain down on yourself, love, positivity and prayer. Water yourself with this till you're so full, the flowers have no choice but to bloom
There were so many wild flowers spread out over the valley. Alien seeds transplanted by the wind and rain. Absolutely amazing to see and walk through. #deathvalley #nationalparks #floral #flower #nature #mothernature #dammitsladephotography #california #wildflowers #southwest #desertlandscape #landscape
All of that vibrant color isn’t expected to last forever: Wildflowers tend to live short lives, and with the park’s stifling spring heat just around the corner, the bloom isn’t likely to last too long.
But for at least the week at hand, rain in Death Valley looks like it will be a constant, and the wildflowers will likely continue to spread throughout the park.
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