The hottest place on the planet is aptly named Death Valley. This cork-dry desert stretches through Southern California inside the Death Valley National Park. Each year’s rainfall barely tops 5 centimeters (2 in), and temperatures as high as 57 degrees Celsius (134 °F) leave little moisture anywhere.
In 2019, something unusual showed up. A massive lake appeared near Salt Creek. Estimated to be around 16 kilometers (10 mi) long, the lake popped up after a storm. The rain spell was no deluge. It only sprinkled around 2.13 centimeters (0.84 in) of rain throughout the park. This is low compared to the rest of the country’s rainfall.
But Death Valley is the perfect place for a pop-up lake. The desert’s soil is so parched and compact that it cannot absorb water very well. This is the reason why a relatively mild storm could deposit a lake in the hottest spot in the world.[