Death Valley’s name says it all — it is the hottest place on Earth. Death Valley currently holds the record for hottest air temperature ever recorded. The desert valley reached highs of 56.7 degrees in the summer of 1913, which would apparently push the limits of human survival. Average temperatures today reach 47 degrees during summer, and it’s the driest place in the States.
The biggest factor behind Death Valley’s extreme heat is its elevation. Parts of it are below sea level, even though the area is 250 miles (400 kilometers) inland from any major body of water. Also, a major set of mountains (the Sierra Nevada) block moisture from the Pacific from reaching the basin.