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    Death Valley

    National Park CA,NV

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  • EXTREME SUMMER HEAT

    Expect high temperatures of 100 to 120 degrees F on your summer visit to Death Valley. Heat related illness is a real possibility. Drink plenty of water and carry extra. Avoid activity in the heat. Travel prepared to survive. Watch for signs of trouble. More »

  • Zabriskie Point to close for repairs

    Starting October 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, all access to Zabriskie Point and surrounding area will be closed for major rehabilitation work to repair unstable support walls and improve conditions.

Faults

fault scarp
The massive earthquake that created this 20 foot tall fault scarp near Badwater happened about 2000 years ago.
 
Nature and Science

Figure 1. Diagram showing types of movement along major fault systems in Death Valley.

Faulting is the one of the main reasons Death Valley exists. Movement along faults allow the mountains to rise and the valleys to sink. Death Valley is located in the southwestern portion of the Basin and Range geomorphic province. The Basin and Range province has a long and active geologic history, including faulting and regional tectonic movement. Fault-bounded uplifted ranges are separated by down-dropped sedimentary basins.

Most faulting that is presently occurring within Death Valley is strike-slip (transverse) with a component of normal movement (see Figure 1). With faulting comes the possibility of seismic activity, more commonly known as earthquakes. Most earthquakes that occur today are very small and cause no damage to structures or the ground surface. However, at some point in the future (no one knows how long into the future), the major fault systems in Death Valley are almost sure to create a significant seismic event.

Did You Know?

The Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley National Park

In 1929, no rain was recorded in Death Valley, California. From 1931 through 1934, a 40 month period, only 0.64 inches of rain fell. More...