Badwater Basin

Feb. 23, 2024

In the parched expanse of North America’s driest region, Badwater Basin has defied expectations by lingering and expanding as an ephemeral lake.

About Badwater Basin:

  • It is endorheic in nature meaning water flows into it but not out, typically resulting in rapid evaporation and ephemeral lakes.
  • It is the lowest point in North America at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. 
  • However, increased precipitation over the past six months has disrupted this pattern.
  • It is nestled within the Death Valley in North America.
  • Manly Lake was formed in August 2023 after Hurricane Hilary.
  • While the lake initially shrank as expected, it surprisingly persisted through the fall and winter months.
  • Its resurgence came in February 2024, when a powerful atmospheric river replenished its waters.
  • Death Valley’s average annual rainfall of only 51 millimetres, received a remarkable 125 mm in the last six months.

Key facts about Death Valley

  • It is located in southeastern California in the United States.
  • It lies near the undefined border between the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert.
  • Most rainfall is blocked by the mountains to the west, so Death Valley is extremely arid.
  • It is the lowest, hottest, and driest portion of North America, noted for its extremes of temperature and aridity.