Death Valley National Park was Very Different in the Past Essay

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When one thinks of Death Valley National Park in California, the first image that comes to mind is usually an endless desert of dry, cracked terrain or rippling sand with little wildlife or vegetation. While that is what you’ll find in most of Death Valley today, it wasn’t always so. During the Holocene Eon and the Pleistocene ice ages, Death Valley had its fair share of streams and rivers, many of which originated from the nearby mountains. In fact, the driest area of Death Valley today was once an island! During that time, glaciers had formed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and water from the rivers cascaded into the area now known as Shoreline Butte, forming Lake Manly; a lake that was estimate to be almost 600 feet deep! The evidence of…show more content…
The ripples on the sand dunes form when the sand starts to pile up high enough to cause a slope on the wind-blowing side of the dune. Once the sand piles up past the angle of repose, approximately 30 degrees, the extra weight causes it to become unstable. The sand particles making up this extra weight then slips down the other side of the slope. At the center of Death Valley National Park is Furnace Creek. Unlike much of Death Valley, a wide variety of desert plants and animals call this oasis home and visitors can enjoy all the amenities at the Furnace Creek Inn and Resort complex; including its lush green golf course and refreshing swimming pool. There are a few other areas of the park that are just as jaw-dropping; the Saline Valley Marsh in the West, the Cottonball Marsh in the central part of the park and Saratoga Springs and Valley Springs, to the south. So why is there such a drastic difference between these rare habitats within Death Valley National Park and the others? The answer is simple … the accessibility of water. These areas either have large ponds, some measuring six acres or more, or are fed by several of the parks natural springs. Saratoga Springs in particular is home to some very rare species not found anywhere else in the world including the Saratoga Springs Pupfish, the Amargosa Spring Snail and the Death Valley June bug. Due to the rate of evaporation in this extremely dry climate versus the

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