California's Historic Drought

The year 2013 was the driest in California's recorded history, and predictions for 2014 aren't much better. Three consecutive years of below-normal rainfall have left reservoirs at a fraction of their normal depth, seriously threatening farms in the state that grows half the nation's fruits and vegetables. California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency and signed a $687 million drought-relief package into law, and 125 additional firefighters have been hired already in anticipation of a dangerous upcoming fire season. One bright spot: gold prospecting. Amateur prospectors are flocking to the Sierra Nevada foothills, taking advantage of lower water levels to search for gold in riverbeds that have been unreachable for decades.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Noah Berger / Reuters

    Tinder Dry: An Early Start to Wildfire Season in the West

    Wildfires have already burned more than 1.6 million acres in Alaska this season, and blazes in Washington, Oregon, and bone-dry California have scorched thousands more.

  • David Gray / Reuters

    Australia's Great Barrier Reef at Risk

    The health of the largest living ecosystem on Earth is in danger, and UNESCO World Heritage delegates will announce on Wednesday whether they will place the Great Barrier Reef on a list of endangered World Heritage sites.

  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 6/20-6/26

    Surfers waiting for a wave at sunset in Chile, the San Juan festival in Spain, erupting volcanoes in Indonesia and Chile, an anti-U.S. rally in North Korea, a gorgeous sunset over Boston’s Fenway Park, celebrations of same-sex marriage supporters in Washington, D.C., and much more.

  • JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Texas A&M Univ. / NASA

    A Trip Around the Solar System

    A quick visual tour of our neighbors in the solar system, with recent images from Mars, Pluto, Saturn, Ceres, Earth, and several other bodies.

Join the Discussion