Natural History

Top 10 Most Extreme Places in North America

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Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California, the hottest place in North America.
Kyle Monk/Blend Images/Corbis

North America's Hottest Place

On July 10, 1913, a record 134 ?F (56.7 ?C) was measured by a weather observation station at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California. The flat, barren valley floor and the surrounding mountains at this location have long created a "convection oven" effect that superheats the air at the surface of this scorched landscape.

This temperature has recently been reconfirmed as the highest surface air temperature ever recorded in the world. A competing measurement of 58 ?C made in 1922 in the Libyan Desert south of Tripoli was invalidated in 2011 after a team of meteorological experts gained access to the original data in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions.

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