California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U. S. the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento; the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, the country's second most populous, after New York City. California has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; the City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. California's $3.0 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, the 36th most populous as of 2017.
The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies, after the New York metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 among large PSAs, is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people. California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation and politics, it is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, fast food, the Internet, the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are seen as global centers of the technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.
S. state. California is bordered by Oregon to the north and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; the state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time and wildfires have become more pervasive features. What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries; the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War.
The western portion of Alta California was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom; the word California referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. The name derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; this work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, inhabited by black women without a single man among them, they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with great virtue; the island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the craggy rocks. Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA. Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000; the Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their political organization with bands, villages, on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash and Salinan.
Trade, intermarriage a
Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad
The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad was a former class II railroad that ran within the locale of eastern California and southwestern Nevada. It was built to haul borax for Francis Marion Smith's Pacific Coast Borax Company from mines located just east of Death Valley, but it hauled lead, feldspar and general goods across the desert to the connection with the Atchison and Santa Fe Railroad at Ludlow, to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad at Crucero, California; the railroad was intended to run from Tonopah, Nevada, to the tidewater at San Diego, but never made it to either on its own rails. It was famous for being the last of the three railroads built to cross the Death Valley region, outlasting them by over 30 years providing dedicated and reliable service to the desert residents; the T&T formed part of a potential north-south transcontinental railroad route, connected together by four different US railway companies used as the basis to form a Mid-Pacific Railroad. The railroad operated from 1907 till 1940, when it suspended operations due to a lack of profitable traffic.
The rails were taken up in 1943 for use in World War II and the company itself was abandoned by 1946. Francis Marion Smith was one of mining tycoons. In 1890, he had incorporated the Pacific Coast Borax Company and operated the largest borax mine in the world at Borate, located 11 miles north of Daggett, with the Borate and Daggett Railroad running a more than adequate service between the two stops. Smith was responsible for building several interurban and rapid transport systems around Oakland and San Francisco, California. By 1901, Smith started searching some old borax claims located in the Black Mountains, just east of Death Valley, located the Lila C. mine, about 135 miles from the nearest railhead of Ivanpah, California on the Santa Fe. To bring the borax out from this remote region, he tried to use an old steam tractor to haul the ore, but it was not suited for the harsh desert conditions and was taken out of service. Smith considered the idea of building a railroad from the nearest point possible on the Santa Fe, to connect the Lila C. to the most intermediate route to his refineries at Alameda and Bayonne, New Jersey.
He had hoped of extending the railroad towards Tonopah, Nevada, as during that time there was a great mining boom going on in the region, with gold and silver mines popping out from all over the area, as far south as Beatty, Nevada and Rhyolite, Nevada. On July 19, 1904, Francis Marion Smith had incorporated the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad Company in New Jersey, with Smith as president, his associates DeWitt Van Buskirk as vice-president, C. B. Zabriskie as secretary-treasurer, John Ryan as superintendent and general manager. After considering building his railroad from several locations including Manvel and Daggett, Francis Smith ran into William A. Clark, Montana senator and head of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, at Las Vegas, Nevada. Clark proposed to Smith that the T&T could be built out of Las Vegas, as the quickest and most direct way to the borax mine and Tonopah goldfields. Smith reacted enthusiastically to Clark's proposal, he agreed. However, Clark himself was considering building a railroad to Tonopah, allowing a direct competitor to build right in his way put Clark in a awkward position.
In 1905, Francis Marion Smith sent crews out to Las Vegas to begin construction of the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad. Grading was started on May 29, by mid-July, about 12 miles of roadbed was graded. William Clark had tried to discourage Smith from building his railroad, from raising rates for construction materials to consolidating the Nevada Rapid Transist Company and building an auto road from Las Vegas to Beatty; the sharpest point in the barb poked in Smith's side, was when he was denied by LA&SL railroad officials to allow the T&T grade to connect to their main line. Smith tried to get in contact with Clark to figure out what was going on, but Clark had evaded Smith by hiding out in Paris. There, Clark had came up with the idea of building his own railroad to the Nevada goldfields, which would come to be known as the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad. Despite Smith's disappointment, he held no resentment for Clark, instead went to the Atchison and Santa Fe Railroad to propose they use their stop at Ludlow, California as the T&T's new terminus.
This was the perfect get-back at Clark's double-cross, for Clark and the Santa Fe were in direct competition to one another. Plus, building north of Ludlow would bring about more business opportunities for the T&T to profit off of, as there were plenty of mines in the area where the Tonopah & Tidewater was planned to be built; the biggest drawback however, was that the railroad would be twice as long as it would've been if they built out of Las Vegas, about 200 miles distance. Francis Smith sold all of his Las Vegas railroad work, graded roadbed and supplies to Clark, moved to Ludlow and started building the T&T with new construction material provided by the Santa Fe. Starting construction in November, it soon got too hot for the railroad workers during the summer months. Water was the hardest to provide, but plenty of meat was made available by the butchers located in Daggett; the T&T construction crews reached Crucero, California by 1906, where they had to cross over the mainline of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad.
An agreement was written by the T&T and the LA&SL to use Crucero as an i
California State Route 127
State Route 127 is a California state highway that connects Interstate 15 to Nevada State Route 373, passing near Death Valley National Park. The entire length of the highway follows the central portion of the former Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad and loosely follows the Amargosa River; the highway begins at I-15 in the community of Baker, the last town travelers from the Greater Los Angeles area or the Las Vegas Valley see before making their trek across Death Valley. SR 127 travels through the town of Baker as Death Valley Road before turning northwest and traveling along the edge of Silver Lake, a dry lake; the road parallels Silurian Lake as it crosses the Valjean Valley. SR 127 soon runs along the southeastern edge of Death Valley National Park and cuts through the mountains as it is entering Inyo County. After passing by the turnoff for Tecopa Hot Springs, SR 127 runs concurrently with SR 178 through the community of Shoshone. SR 127 continues along the eastern edge of Death Valley National Park, passing by Eagle Mountain and the Amargosa River before intersecting SR 190 at Death Valley Junction.
The road ends at the California-Nevada border. It is the "Lost Highway" featured in David Lynch's film Lost Highway. SR 127 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, near I-15 is part of the National Highway System, a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration. SR 127 is eligible to be included in the State Scenic Highway System, but it is not designated as a scenic highway by the California Department of Transportation. In 1933, Route 127 was added to the state highway system, went from Baker to Death Valley Junction. In the 1964 state highway renumbering, SR 127 was defined from I-15 to the Nevada state line; the route has remained the same since its definition. Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, do not reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, T indicates postmiles classified as temporary.
Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The numbers reset at county lines. California Roads portal Caltrans: Route 127 highway conditions California Highways: SR 127 California @ AARoads.com - State Route 127
North American Numbering Plan
The North American Numbering Plan is a telephone numbering plan that encompasses twenty-five distinct regions in twenty countries in North America, including the Caribbean. Some North American countries, most notably Mexico, do not participate in the NANP; the NANP was devised in the 1940s by AT&T for the Bell System and independent telephone operators in North America to unify the diverse local numbering plans, established in the preceding decades. AT&T continued to administer the numbering plan until the breakup of the Bell System, when administration was delegated to the North American Numbering Plan Administration, a service, procured from the private sector by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States; each participating country forms a regulatory authority that has plenary control over local numbering resources. The FCC serves as the U. S. regulator. Canadian numbering decisions are made by the Canadian Numbering Administration Consortium; the NANP divides the territories of its members into numbering plan areas which are encoded numerically with a three-digit telephone number prefix called the area code.
Each telephone is assigned a seven-digit telephone number unique only within its respective plan area. The telephone number consists of a four-digit station number; the combination of an area code and the telephone number serves as a destination routing address in the public switched telephone network. For international call routing, the NANP has been assigned the international calling code 1 by the International Telecommunications Union; the North American Numbering Plan conforms with ITU Recommendation E.164, which establishes an international numbering framework. From its beginnings in 1876 and throughout the first part of the 20th century, the Bell System grew from local or regional telephone systems; these systems expanded by growing their subscriber bases, as well as increasing their service areas by implementing additional local exchanges that were interconnected with tie trunks. It was the responsibility of each local administration to design telephone numbering plans that accommodated the local requirements and growth.
As a result, the Bell System as a whole developed into an unorganized system of many differing local numbering systems. The diversity impeded the efficient operation and interconnection of exchanges into a nationwide system for long-distance telephone communication. By the 1940s, the Bell System set out to unify the various numbering plans in existence and developed the North American Numbering Plan as a unified, systematic approach to efficient long-distance service that did not require the involvement of switchboard operators; the new numbering plan was accepted in October 1947, dividing most of North America into eighty-six numbering plan areas. Each NPA was assigned a numbering plan area code abbreviated as area code; these codes were first used by long-distance operators to establish long-distance calls between toll offices. The first customer-dialed direct call using area codes was made on November 10, 1951, from Englewood, New Jersey, to Alameda, California. Direct distance dialing was subsequently introduced across the country.
By the early 1960s, most areas of the Bell System had been converted and DDD had become commonplace in cities and most larger towns. In the following decades, the system expanded to include all of the United States and its territories, Canada and seventeen nations of the Caribbean. By 1967, 129 area codes had been assigned. At the request of the British Colonial Office, the numbering plan was first expanded to Bermuda and the British West Indies because of their historic telecommunications administration through Canada as parts of the British Empire and their continued associations with Canada during the years of the telegraph and the All Red Line system. Not all North American countries participate in the NANP. Exceptions include Mexico, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the Central American countries and some Caribbean countries; the only Spanish-speaking state in the system is the Dominican Republic. Mexican participation was planned, but implementation stopped after three area codes had been assigned, Mexico opted for an international numbering format, using country code 52.
The area codes in use were subsequently withdrawn in 1991. Area code 905 for Mexico City, was reassigned to a split of area code 416 in the Greater Toronto Area. Dutch-speaking Sint Maarten joined the NANP in September 2011, receiving area code 721; the NANP is administered by the North American Numbering Plan Administration. Today, this function is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, which assumed the responsibility upon the breakup of the Bell System; the FCC solicits private sector contracts for the role of the administrator. The service was provided by a division of Lockheed Martin. In 1997, the contract was awarded to Neustar Inc.. In 2012, the contract was renewed until 2017. In 2015, the contract beginning 2017 was granted to Ericsson; the vision and goal of the architects of the North American Numbering Plan was a system by which telephone subscribers in the United States and Canada could themselves dial and establish a telephone call to any other subscriber wi
2010 United States Census
The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010; the census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired; the population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000; as required by the United States Constitution, the U. S. census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2000 U. S. Census was the previous census completed. Participation in the U. S. Census is required by law in Title 13 of the United States Code. On January 25, 2010, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves inaugurated the 2010 Census enumeration by counting World War II veteran Clifton Jackson, a resident of Noorvik, Alaska.
More than 120 million census forms were delivered by the U. S. Post Office beginning March 15, 2010; the number of forms mailed out or hand-delivered by the Census Bureau was 134 million on April 1, 2010. Although the questionnaire used April 1, 2010 as the reference date as to where a person was living, an insert dated March 15, 2010 included the following printed in bold type: "Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today." The 2010 Census national mail participation rate was 74%. From April through July 2010, census takers visited households that did not return a form, an operation called "non-response follow-up". In December 2010, the U. S. Census Bureau delivered population information to the U. S. President for apportionment, in March 2011, complete redistricting data was delivered to states. Identifiable information will be available in 2082; the Census Bureau did not use a long form for the 2010 Census. In several previous censuses, one in six households received this long form, which asked for detailed social and economic information.
The 2010 Census used only a short form asking ten basic questions: How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? Mark all that apply: Is this house, apartment, or mobile home – What is your telephone number? What is Person 1's name? What is Person 1's sex? What is Person 1's age and Person 1's date of birth? Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? What is Person 1's race? Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? The form included space to repeat all of these questions for up to twelve residents total. In contrast to the 2000 census, an Internet response option was not offered, nor was the form available for download. Detailed socioeconomic information collected during past censuses will continue to be collected through the American Community Survey; the survey provides data about communities in the United States on a 1-year or 3-year cycle, depending on the size of the community, rather than once every 10 years.
A small percentage of the population on a rotating basis will receive the survey each year, no household will receive it more than once every five years. In June 2009, the U. S. Census Bureau announced. However, the final form did not contain a separate "same-sex married couple" option; when noting the relationship between household members, same-sex couples who are married could mark their spouses as being "Husband or wife", the same response given by opposite-sex married couples. An "unmarried partner" option was available for couples; the 2010 census cost $13 billion $42 per capita. Operational costs were $5.4 billion under the $7 billion budget. In December 2010 the Government Accountability Office noted that the cost of conducting the census has doubled each decade since 1970. In a detailed 2004 report to Congress, the GAO called on the Census Bureau to address cost and design issues, at that time, had estimated the 2010 Census cost to be $11 billion. In August 2010, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that the census operational costs came in under budget.
Locke credited the management practices of Census Bureau director Robert Groves, citing in particular the decision to buy additional advertising in locations where responses lagged, which improved the overall response rate. The agency has begun to rely more on questioning neighbors or other reliable third parties when a person could not be reached at home, which reduced the cost of follow-up visits. Census data for about 22% of U. S. househol
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U. S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy; the Census Bureau is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States; the Census Bureau's primary mission is conducting the U. S. Census every ten years, which allocates the seats of the U. S. House of Representatives to the states based on their population; the Bureau's various censuses and surveys help allocate over $400 billion in federal funds every year and it helps states, local communities, businesses make informed decisions. The information provided by the census informs decisions on where to build and maintain schools, transportation infrastructure, police and fire departments. In addition to the decennial census, the Census Bureau continually conducts dozens of other censuses and surveys, including the American Community Survey, the U. S. Economic Census, the Current Population Survey.
Furthermore and foreign trade indicators released by the federal government contain data produced by the Census Bureau. Article One of the United States Constitution directs the population be enumerated at least once every ten years and the resulting counts used to set the number of members from each state in the House of Representatives and, by extension, in the Electoral College; the Census Bureau now conducts a full population count every 10 years in years ending with a zero and uses the term "decennial" to describe the operation. Between censuses, the Census Bureau makes population projections. In addition, Census data directly affects how more than $400 billion per year in federal and state funding is allocated to communities for neighborhood improvements, public health, education and more; the Census Bureau is mandated with fulfilling these obligations: the collecting of statistics about the nation, its people, economy. The Census Bureau's legal authority is codified in Title 13 of the United States Code.
The Census Bureau conducts surveys on behalf of various federal government and local government agencies on topics such as employment, health, consumer expenditures, housing. Within the bureau, these are known as "demographic surveys" and are conducted perpetually between and during decennial population counts; the Census Bureau conducts economic surveys of manufacturing, retail and other establishments and of domestic governments. Between 1790 and 1840, the census was taken by marshals of the judicial districts; the Census Act of 1840 established a central office. Several acts followed that revised and authorized new censuses at the 10-year intervals. In 1902, the temporary Census Office was moved under the Department of Interior, in 1903 it was renamed the Census Bureau under the new Department of Commerce and Labor; the department was intended to consolidate overlapping statistical agencies, but Census Bureau officials were hindered by their subordinate role in the department. An act in 1920 changed the date and authorized manufacturing censuses every two years and agriculture censuses every 10 years.
In 1929, a bill was passed mandating the House of Representatives be reapportioned based on the results of the 1930 Census. In 1954, various acts were codified into Title 13 of the US Code. By law, the Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U. S. President by December 31 of any year ending in a zero. States within the Union receive the results in the spring of the following year; the United States Census Bureau defines four statistical regions, with nine divisions. The Census Bureau regions are "widely used...for data collection and analysis". The Census Bureau definition is pervasive. Regional divisions used by the United States Census Bureau: Region 1: Northeast Division 1: New England Division 2: Mid-Atlantic Region 2: Midwest Division 3: East North Central Division 4: West North Central Region 3: South Division 5: South Atlantic Division 6: East South Central Division 7: West South Central Region 4: West Division 8: Mountain Division 9: Pacific Many federal, state and tribal governments use census data to: Decide the location of new housing and public facilities, Examine the demographic characteristics of communities and the US, Plan transportation systems and roadways, Determine quotas and creation of police and fire precincts, Create localized areas for elections, utilities, etc.
Gathers population information every 10 years The United States Census Bureau is committed to confidentiality, guarantees non-disclosure of any addresses or personal information related to individuals or establishments. Title 13 of the U. S. Code establishes penalties for the disclosure of this information. All Census employees must sign an affidavit of non-disclosure prior to employment; the Bureau cannot share responses, addresses or personal information with anyone including United States or foreign government
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California—Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park boundaries include Death Valley, the northern section of Panamint Valley, the southern section of Eureka Valley, most of Saline Valley; the park occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts, protecting the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and its diverse environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states, the hottest and lowest of all the national parks in the United States; the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level. 91% of the park is a designated wilderness area. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment; some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor from much wetter times. UNESCO included Death Valley as the principal feature of its Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve in 1984.
A series of Native American groups inhabited the area from as early as 7000 BC, most the Timbisha around 1000 AD who migrated between winter camps in the valleys and summer grounds in the mountains. A group of European-Americans, trapped in the valley in 1849 while looking for a shortcut to the gold fields of California, gave the valley its name though only one of their group died there. Several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver; the only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams. The valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, movies. Tourism expanded in the 1920s when resorts were built around Furnace Creek. Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was expanded and became a national park in 1994; the natural environment of the area has been shaped by its geology. The valley is a graben with the oldest rocks being extensively metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old.
Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean. Additional sedimentation occurred; the subduction created a line of volcanoes. The crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, such as Lake Manly. In 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two major valleys in Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years and both are bounded by north–south-trending mountain ranges; these and adjacent valleys follow the general trend of Basin and Range topography with one modification: there are parallel strike-slip faults that perpendicularly bound the central extent of Death Valley. The result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the valley floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the alluvial fans there are small and steep compared to the huge alluvial fans coming off the Panamint Range. Fast uplift of a mountain range in an arid environment does not allow its canyons enough time to cut a classic V-shape all the way down to the stream bed. Instead, a V-shape ends at a slot canyon halfway down, forming a'wine glass canyon.' Sediment is deposited on a steep alluvial fan. At 282 feet below sea level at its lowest point, Badwater Basin on Death Valley's floor is the second-lowest depression in the Western Hemisphere, while Mount Whitney, only 85 miles to the west, rises to 14,505 feet; this topographic relief is the greatest elevation gradient in the contiguous United States and is the terminus point of the Great Basin's southwestern drainage. Although the extreme lack of water in the Great Basin makes this distinction of little current practical use, it does mean that in wetter times the lake that once filled Death Valley was the last stop for water flowing in the region, meaning the water there was saturated in dissolved materials.
Thus the salt pans in Death Valley are among the largest in the world and are rich in minerals, such as borax and various salts and hydrates. The largest salt pan in the park extends 40 miles from the Ashford Mill Site to the Salt Creek Hills, covering some 200 square miles of the valley floor; the best known playa in the park is the Racetrack, known for its moving rocks. Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in North America due to its lack of surface water and low relief, it is so the hottest spot in the United States that many tabulations of the highest daily temperatures in the country omit Death Valley as a matter of course. On the afternoon of July 10, 1913, the United States Weather Bureau recorded a high temperature of 134 °F at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley; this temperature stands as the highest ambient air temperature recorded at the surface of the Earth. Daily summer temperatures of 120 °F or greater are common, as well as below freezing nightly temperatur