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Rare ‘super bloom’ carpets Death Valley with wildflowers

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Desert wildflowers bloom in Death Valley National Park, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – The rare “super bloom” of wildflowers has arrived in Death Valley National Park.

Video of fields of tall yellow flowers against the stark mountain background was posted Thursday on the Los Angeles Times Facebook page.

Flowers began popping up in early January, which is very early for the bloom. The Times attributed it to the El Nino rains in January.

A report on the website DesertUSA called the area south of Copper Canyon “especially jaw-dropping.”

“You always get flowers somewhere in Death Valley, almost every month of the year, but to have a big bloom like this, … those are quite rare,” said park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg in the video.

He called super blooms “beyond all your expectations.” The last two were in 1998 and 2005, he told the National Parks Conservation Association.

The first time he saw a super bloom — in his 25 or so years living in Death Valley — Van Valkenburg had a realization about the seemingly barren landscape.

“I suddenly realized there are so many seeds out there just waiting to sprout, just waiting to grow. I had no idea there was that much out there,” he said.

Areas that are normally rocks can become filled with life — briefly — during super blooms.

“It’s here for a moment, then it fades,” Van Valkenburg said. “It’s a privileged to be able to be here and see one of these blooms.