The Heat Experiment I Could Do Without

The temperature in certain parts of the UK might have reached 31˚C which to us is sizzling hot and most uncomfortable.

Not so to the tourists of Death Valley in California renowned for its blast-furnace climate. Now, the world’s hottest place has become just a little more inhospitable – thanks to a mass of oozing, smelly, partly-fried eggs, Rhys Blakely writes.

This week a century ago, the valley experienced the highest temperature ever recorded on earth when Furnace Creek hit 56.7˚C (global warming prophets of doom, take heed).

When a heat wave swept the region this month, tourists swarmed in. Some tried to repeat a classic proof of the searing weather by frying an egg on the ground.

The results, say officials for Death Valley National Park, have been a ‘hot mess’. Broken shells, cartons and gooey yolks now litter this corner of the Mohave Desert, lending it a distinctly unpleasant aroma.

The highest temperature recorded so far this year is 53.9˚C. That, according to Cheryl Chipman, a spokeswoman for Death Valley National Park, is ‘pretty darn hot, and when you have to clean up a gooey stinking mess, you lose a little bit of faith in humanity’.

In a Facebook post, park workers plead with visitors to use a frying pan, not the pavement. ‘If you do have to fry an egg, please use a frying pan. This is your national park, please put trash in the garbage or recycle bins provided and don’t crack eggs on the sidewalk.’

The craze for solar-powered breakfast was stoked by a YouTube video in which a park official showed how an egg could be cooked at 53.1 ˚C. He explains that the key is to use a frying pan with a lid, which traps heat. It must be left in sun for a couple of hours. Even then the egg congeals rather than sizzles.

The experiment is not one I would willingly undergo for fear that instead of the egg congealing I risk getting congealed myself. My spirit of adventure does not, I’m afraid, take me that far.

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