Plus, although flora and fauna do thrive in some deserts, such arid regions are generally considered to be among the least liveable places on our planet. Perhaps it will come as no surprise, then, that one of the world’s most famous desert landscapes has a suitably macabre name. Stretching for some 3,000 square miles across Eastern California, Death Valley is infamous for its fearsomely hot environment.
In California, Death Valley forms part of the Mojave, which is a type of rain shadow desert. Essentially, these kinds of landscapes are formed when mountain ranges prevent weather systems from reaching the ground below, thus creating areas where very little precipitation falls. Peaks can attract moisture from the air to their windward sections, you see, and this consequently forms a drier region on the opposite side.
And according to legend, Death Valley earned its eerie moniker from a party of explorers who passed through during the mid-19th century. On that occasion, they apparently lost their way and became convinced that they would never make it out of the barren area alive. Fortunately, however, they are said to have ultimately escaped, after which a member of the group allegedly uttered the immortal words “Goodbye, Death Valley.”