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04/25/2015 10:32 AM EDT

A fiery sunrise over the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park in California. Many first time visitors to Death Valley are surprised it is not covered with a sea of sand. Less than one percent of the desert is covered with dunes, yet the shadowed ripples and stark, graceful curves define “desert” in our imaginations. The Mesquite Flat Dunes are the best known and easiest to visit in the national park. Check out more amazing pics of Death Valley:

Photo courtesy of Mike Mezeul II.