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Death valley is the hottest and driest place in North America. Temperatures of 120 degrees and above are quite common during the summertime. In 1913 the temperature at Furnace Creek reached 134 degrees (56.7 degrees Celsius) which is the hottest temperature that has ever been recorded in the world. Death Valley is also the second lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level.
The entire area is rich with history including inhabitance by several different Native American groups going back 10,000 years or more. A significant amount of mining occurred in the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries for metals such as gold, silver, copper and lead. Death Valley is also home to the famous and iconic Twenty-Mule Team that was used to haul borax out of the valley.
Despite the harsh environment, Death Valley is a beautiful, diverse and scenic area (especially geologically). It has long been popular among researchers,
tourists, artists and photographers.