Tourists experience the high 120-degree temperature at Badwater in Death Valley on the afternoon of Aug. 18, 2011.
The World Meteorological Organization announced in September 2012 that it now considers Death Valley National Park the hottest place on Earth.
The highest recorded surface temperature of 134 degrees (56.7 degrees Celsius) was measured July 10, 1913, at Greenland Ranch.
The Greenland Ranch record was surpassed on Sept. 13, 1922, with a reading of 136.4 degrees (58 C) in what is now Libya.
That reading long has been disputed. An international panel investigated and found several mistakes had been made at the time by an inexperienced observer.
The record reading at Death Valley came during a week of extreme heat in which the high reached at least 127 degrees each day. Greenland Ranch was later renamed to Furnace Creek.
Badwater is the lowest point in North America with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level and is 18 miles south of Furnace Creek.