Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America at 282 ft below sea level. The highest point, Mt Whitney, is only 84.6 miles away. Accumulated salts of the surrounding basin make any water here bad water, undrinkable. There is animal and plant life, including pickleweed, aquatic insects and the Badwater snail. Repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles gradually push the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes.
The vast, surreal salt flats of Badwater Basin change constantly. Salt crystals expand, pushing the crust of salt into rough, chaotic forms. Newly formed crystals ooze between mudcracks, sketching strange patterns on the surface of the salt flat.