I was completely focused shooting the dry polygonal designs at Badwater Basin when I turned around to face the setting sun and the thin layer of water remaining in the basin. I was fortunate enough to catch this one image before the sun ducked below the mountain range.
An amazing process unfolds at Badwater Basin as the elements flood the salt pan and then extreme evaporation removes the moisture creating a new canvas for Mother Nature with each cycle of rain / evaporation.
As the water in the salt flats evaporate, the salt flats contract and hence occupy less space. The basic form of contraction is that the ground contracts to a point in 6 directions, under ideal circumstances forming hexagons. However Mother Nature is not perfect, and hexagons are rare. The general term for the shapes produced by this drying out-related contraction is "polygon". At Badwater, significant rainstorms flood the valley bottom periodically, covering the salt pan with a thin sheet of standing water. Each newly-formed lake does not last long though, because the 1.9 in of average rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150 in annual evaporation rate. Death Valley National Park has the greatest evaporation rate in the United States.
January 12th, 2020
Viewed 250 Times - Last Visitor from Grapevine, TX on 09/26/2020 at 2:13 PM