According to CNN, Death Valley is currently experiencing a rare ‘super bloom’ of wildflowers for the first time since 2005 thanks to periodic rainfall, solar warmth, and reduced wind. These ideal conditions for the wildflowers are attributed to El Niño, which has brought a more than normal amount of rainfall to the dry region. Death Valley sees very little rain, with an average of 2 inches annually.
“I’m not really sure where the term ‘super bloom’ originated, but 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 several impressive displays of wildflowers over the years and always wondered how anything could beat them, until 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,” according to park ranger and 25-year Death Valley resident Alan Van Valkenburg.
Summer temperatures in the valley, which contains the lowest point in the United States, are as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with a nighttime low of about 90 degrees. Despite its steamy climate, the below-sea-level basin in Furnace Creek, California, about 150 miles west of Las Vegas, is now decorated with millions of blooming wildflowers. The wide variety of colorful flowers includes the pale white gravel ghost and the staple desert gold, which turns the valley floor into a sea of yellow.
“These areas that are normally just rock, just soil, just barren, not even shrubs — they’re filled with life. Death Valley really does go from being a valley of death to a valley of life,” says Van Valkenburg.
When Death Valley comes to mind, one tends to think of an area full of salt flats, sand dunes, its oases filled with tiny fish, and its brittle cracked ground surrounded by snow-topped mountains. It’s hard to imagine beautiful wildflowers in this desolate area, but it’s an incredible sight to see. The park notes previous ‘super blooms’ in 1998 and 2005 happened during El Nino years like this one. The dry valley is covered in seeds, but conditions must be ideal in order for those seeds to sprout and survive in the typical harsh conditions that the park is known for.
“El Nino can affect Death Valley by shifting the track of winter and spring storms into the area, increasing rainfall during flower season,” stated the Death Valley Park Officials.
The ‘super bloom’ is a sight to see and many people are taking advantage the wonderful opportunity to view these wildflowers.
The breathe-taking wildflowers up close! Its a beautiful and unusual sight, so take advantage of it if you can and check them out!