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Death Valley Marks Anniversary of World's Hottest Temperature

Friday marks the anniversary of when Death Valley, California, set the all-time record high for not just the United States, but the entire world.

Temperatures in Death Valley (at Greenland Ranch, which is now known as Furnace Creek Ranch) soared to 134 F on July 10, 1913, the highest temperature ever recorded in the world.

That date was actually one of five consecutive days when Death Valley recorded a high of 129 degrees or higher.

For a time, Death Valley lost the world's all-time record high to El Azizia, Libya. However, it was given back to Death Valley in September 2012 after a World Meteorological Organization panel determined that the temperature of 136 F registered at El Azizia on Sept. 13, 1922, was invalid.

While a high of 134 F is extreme even by Death Valley's standards, blazing heat is not uncommon. The maximum average high temperature in July is 117 F, compared to the 107 F in Phoenix, Arizona.

Death Valley owes its hot weather to its extremely low elevation (it sits at nearly 300 feet below sea level) and dry climate.

Death Valley averages only 2.36 inches of rain each year, meaning there is hardly ever moisture in the ground, and the sun's energy can be used entirely for heating.

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When the sun's energy comes into contact with wet ground, evaporation takes place and reduces the amount of heating that could ultimately take place.

Interestingly, the all-time coldest reading in Death Valley was also set in 1913. Temperatures bottomed out at 15 F on Jan. 8 of that year.