Natural History

North America’s Top 10 Natural Wonders

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ESCUDERO Patrick/Hemis/Corbis

Death Valley

This spectacular below-sea-level basin combines the hottest, driest, and lowest points in North America. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes, but each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and provide refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives across this harsh, but beautiful landscape. (Source: National Park Service)

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