Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth, but heavy rainfalls stemming from El Nino have flooded the area first with rain, and then with flowers. Image Source: Reddit

Chile’s Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth, but this year it is filled with color.

The desert has the longest dry streak on record after it went 173 consecutive months without a single drop of rain in the early 1900s. But this year, the Atacama was breaking records of a different kind. One day in March, the Atacama got .96 inches of rain. That may not sound like much, but given that the desert’s average rainfall is about .07 inches per year, that one day in March was the equivalent of having 14 years of rain in a single day.

Thus we now have the stunningly pink malva flowers (pictured above), which bloom every five to seven years depending on the El Nino cycle. This year’s rainfall has been especially heavy, even for an El Nino year, and people are calling it the “most spectacular blossoming of the past 18 years.”

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.
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