Established as a National Park in 1933 under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Death Valley is the largest national park in the continental United States even though its total length is no more than approximately 100 miles in length. The valley is located in the Mojave Desert in eastern California and is surrounded by the Amargosa Range on the east, the Panamint Range on the west, and the Sylvania Mountains and Owlshead Mountains on the northern and southern boundaries. The topography of this region is varied and complex; and has a lengthy geologic history that explains why it is riddled with a variety of sand dunes, craters, and flood-carved canyons to name a few. The total area of the valley is about 3,000 square miles with the lowest elevation being located at the Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level. Interestingly enough; however, the highest elevation of the region is 14,494 feet above sea level.
The sharp differences in elevation between the Badwater Basin and the surrounding mountains that include the highest point in the continental US (Mt. Whitney at 14,494 feet) stand as a representation of the regions violent tectonic past. The mountains themselves are considered fault block mountain ranges meaning that they were formed when blocks of rocks were squeezed through the Earth's crust along parallel faults or were loosened from the crust when it separated at a fault. In the valley, both of these methods not only were the cause of the current mountains formation less than four million years ago, but also are causing the mountains to be uplifted while the valley floor drops even further. This phenomenon is one of the reasons why the lowest and highest points in the continental...
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...r ball and the valley does not stand a chance of withstanding another 1.8 billion years let alone 10,000 years. If actions are not taken to decrease the water consumption and limit senseless behaviors, there will not be a park. One of the easiest ways to limit water depletion is to order drinking water from other locations and have it brought into the valley and not waste water on swimming pools for entertainment and to limit the access of the oasis in itself. Test would have to be performed to see it reusing water that has been used for showering, laundry, and washing hands would harm the oasis before it was recycled, but that is another possibility. The best way; however, would be to limit human access to the oasis in general. Why should humans have inns and resorts in the middle of an oasis to begin with! Most people are no respectful to nature and will ruin it.
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