Saturday, October 29, 2011

USA - Nevada/California - Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Natural History Association
Death Valley, CA 92328
Impressive Manly Beacon and the distant Panamin Range as seen from Zabriskie Point.

I couldn't figure out who sent this postcard. Terima kasih banyak-banyak (thank you very much).

This is from Wikipedia : Death Valley National Park is a national park in the U.S. states of California and Nevada located east of the Sierra Nevada in the arid Great Basin of the United States. The park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Death Valley National Park is visited annually by more than 825,000 visitors who come to see its diverse geologic features, desert wildlife, historic sites, scenery, and clear night skies.

It is the hottest and driest of the national parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, and the Death Valley Pupfish, a survivor of much wetter times. The park covers an area of 5,270 square miles (13,649 km2) of which 5,194 square miles (13,452 km2) is federal land. Approximately 95% of the park is a designated wilderness area, which covers 4,774 square miles (12,360 km2), making it the largest in the contiguous 48 states, and the sixth largest in the United States overall.

A series of Native American groups inhabited the area from as early as 7000 BCE, most recently the Timbisha around 1000 AD who migrated between winter camps in the valleys and summer grounds in the high mountain ridges. The first documented non-Native Americans to enter Death Valley did so in the winter of 1849 looking for a shortcut to the gold fields of California. They were stuck for weeks and in the process gave the valley its name, even though only one of their group actually died there.

Mining was the primary activity in the area before it was protected. Several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to exploit minor local bonanzas of gold. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined, however, was borax, a mineral used to make soap and an important industrial compound. Today, borax is an essential component of high-temperature resistant boro-silicate glass products, for example some Pyrex glass products. Twenty-mule teams were used to transport ore out of the valley; helping to make it famous and the subject of books, radio programs, television series, and movies.

Tourism blossomed in the 1920s, when resorts were built around waters sources at Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. Pacific Coast Borax, a major landowner, and others like Death Valley Scotty promoted the region. Death Valley National Monument was declared a U.S. National Monument in 1933, placing the area under federal protection. In 1994, the monument was redesignated a national park, as well as being substantially expanded to include Saline and Eureka valleys.

The natural environment of the area has been shaped largely by its geology. The valley itself is actually a graben. The oldest rocks are extensively metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old. Ancient warm, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean. Additional sedimentation occurred until a subduction zone formed off the coast. This uplifted the region out of the sea and created a line of volcanoes. Later the crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, such as Lake Manly.

The park covers 5,262 square miles (13,630 km2), encompassing Saline Valley, a large part of Panamint Valley, almost all of Death Valley, and parts of several mountain ranges. The bulk of the park is in southern Inyo County and northern San Bernardino County in Eastern California. A small triangular extension near Rhyolite, Nevada of approximately 400 square kilometres (150 sq mi) is part of southwestern Nye County and extreme southern Esmeralda County in Nevada. In addition, there is an exclave (Devil's Hole) in southern Nye County administered by the Park.

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