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7 lakes and rivers that are drying up

July 27, 2011, 11:45 a.m.
a very shallow lake with people wading far away and mountains in the distance

Photo: Dawn Endico/Flickr

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Lake Badwater

At least humans can feel less guilty about one shrinking lake. The only thing causing Lake Badwater to shrink is good ol' Mother Nature. Lake Badwater is actually a seasonal lake that appears after rain storms before quickly evaporating once the drops stop falling. Lake Badwater is located in California's Death Valley and at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in North America. Interestingly enough, the highest point in the contiguous 48 states is located only 85 miles away at Mount Whitney. (Check out the super hardcore Badwater Ultramarathon which goes from Badwater to Whitney on a 135-mile course.) With temperatures that can soar above 120 degrees F and almost no humidity, any moisture that gets left behind after a storm quickly dries up, so much so that even a 30-mile-long, 12-foot-deep lake would have trouble staying ahead of the yearly evaporation.