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Death Valley or Spring's Meadows?

The first time I took my (then 4-year-old) daughter to Death Valley, she thought it always looked like this. She named it Spring's Meadows. P31300631.JPG That was March 2005. This is January 2015. (Photo from Desert USA's Death Valley NP Wildflower Reports page.) dv-43133768_o.jpg

You may wonder, how does a place that gets about 2 inches of rain per year support such a display of wildflowers?

The answer is in the geology. Mountains literally squeeze water out of the sky. Because four mountain ranges lie between the ocean and DV, not much rain falls in the valley. However, the mountains that surround the valley can manage to squeeze a little moisture, especially from the moist monsoonal flow that sneaks in through the southeast.

Rain generally flows downhill. (Although, it can flow uphill towards money.) The rainwater flows down the canyons and then pours out over the alluvial fans of DV. Those areas get a lot more water and you get spectacular shows like the two photos above.

You can see an alluvial fan more clearly in the spectacular DV geology photos of geologist Marli Miller. Dep-03.jpg You can also see more wildflower photos from California and Colorado on my personal blog. The LA Times also did a story.


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