Some of the oldest mummies found anywhere on earth have come from the Atacama Desert and have been dated to be 9,000 years old! Atacama desert. Pinned in on both sides, at the perfect latitude for a desert, and close to a very cold ocean, the end result is hyper-arid conditions – conditions so dry … Some scientists think it may not have rained in thousands of years. The climate of the Atacama is cool and very dry in most areas. The first consideration is that there are two mountain ranges that create a rain shadow that literally keeps rain clouds from entering this area. What makes the San Pedro de Atacama Desert so dry? Driest Desert in the World – Studies conducted by NASA have concluded that this desert located in northern Chile is in fact the driest desert in the world. Chile is witnessing extreme downpours causing floods, including in the Atacama Desert. The air that is moving downward is very dry. Synopsis: The Atacama Desert of Chile and McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are the driest deserts in the world. The air is so dry here, is that I to buy a truckload of moisturizer to stop my skin from cracking – and I normally have oily skin! The Atacama is well known for its lack of rainfall, but scientists are only now getting a handle on how long it … I wanted to come here because it is such an extreme environment. Last week, it rained so much in Atacama Desert — the driest place on the planet — that a waterfall that remained dry for 10 years has come to life. Second, the winds near the Atacama are also very dry. Especially if you’re the kind of traveller who likes going out in … Some areas are actually inundated with frequent coastal fog that forms clouds that roll upwards into the hills but never falls as precipitation. First, this desert is in between two mountain ranges, the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. The Atacama Desert is considered to be the driest area on Earth, except for the regions near the Earth's poles. Another important reason is that the Andes Range runs along the Atacama Desert, acting as a formidable natural barrier from the moisture of the Amazon; the rain shadow effect. So, whatever water does evaporate from the cold Pacific Ocean offshore runs into this first topographic wall and is kept out of the Atacama. The most-arid region of the desert, the northern Atacama, is sandwiched between two mountain ranges, the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, which limits the amount of moisture the desert absorbs from either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans. The stars, sand dunes, rock formations, lagoons and more create a desert like no other, transporting you to another planet. Because the Atacama is so bone-dry the bodies of the buried indians have dried perfectly preserved turning them into mummies. The milky way over a salt pan in the Atacama Desert. The Atacama Desert in Chile (in Spanish: Desierto de Atacama) is a plateau covering 1,000 km in N-S direction from Peru’s southern border into Chile in South America.The desert is narrow and elongated with a width of only 100 km. Studies have shown that the Atacama desert received no appreciable rainfall between 1570 and 1971, and some ancient riverbeds appear to have been dry for 120,000 years. Atacama desert Peru is considered to be the driest place on Earth and is classified as a hot desert. Because of the heat and the lack of rainfall, there are no large canopy trees to shade animals or plants. The desert is located in 2 South American countries The Atacama Desert is a desert … More. Some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain. Once you get to the airport, there are shuttles to San Pedro de Atacama. But the El Nino weather phenomenon did spare the region in 2015 and it brought 0.96 inches of rain in one day in some parts. It may be a bit puzzling why the Atacama Desert is so dry since it’s right by the Pacific Ocean. Fossilized hippopotamus and elephant bones tell us that the Sahara, for instance, was a much moister and more hospitable environment around 8,000 years ago than it is now. But they are expensive for a low-budget traveler. Why Are Deserts Dry? Driest means little or no precipitation so a desert has to be at the top of the list, such as the Atacama Desert in Chile. At some weather stations, it has never rained in more than 500 years since Europeans first arrived. Because of the warm, dry climate, the Atacama experiences minimal cloud cover. The Atacama Desert is covered with pink flowers that were able to grow because of the crazy amount on rainfall there. 1. Atacama Desert, Spanish Desierto de Atacama, cool, arid region in northern Chile, 600 to 700 miles (1,000 to 1,100 km) long from north to south. It would be classified as a cool, dry desert climate. Distance from San Pedro de Atacama… Ever. At night, deserts cool down, sometimes even below 0°C. The Atacama desert in South America has been in a super-dry state far longer than any other location on Earth - nearly 40 million years in some places. Why is the Atacama desert so dry? It's one of the driest places in the world, and in this post, you'll discover the ultimate list of facts about the Atacama Desert! The mountains keep out most rain clouds. The driest desert on Earth. Hot and dry deserts have a mean annual temperature of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, and the extreme temperatures can range from 43 to 49.5 degrees Celsius during the day and minus 18 degrees Celsius at night. Edit: here's a nice diagram.I couldn't find the one from my desert ecology textbook. The Atacama Desert (Spanish: Desierto de Atacama) is a desert plateau in South America covering a 1,600 km (990 mi) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes Mountains.The Atacama Desert is the driest nonpolar desert in the world, as well as the only true desert to receive less precipitation than the polar deserts and the largest fog desert in the world. Most deserts … It is also one of the oldest deserts, probably from the Triassic period, atleast 3 million years old. The Atacama desert is so dry that mountains of height 6,885 m (22,590 ft) have no glaciers, making them unique in the world. This is a challenging question to consider, especially considering the proximity to the ocean. The Arica, Chile has the record for the longest dry streak –173 months without a drop. It’s one of few places in the world that experiences what’s called the “rainshadow effect,” which means that the Andes mountain range blocks the rain from getting to the desert. The Atacama Desert is known as the driest place on Earth. Periods of up to four years have been registered with no rainfall in the central sector, delimited by the cities of Antofagasta, Calama and Copiapó, in Chile. How come the Atacama is extremely dry when it is so close to the ocean? They are so dry and inhospitable that the same tools showing no life on Mars in the 1970’s also showed no life in both of these locations on Earth. There are countless more reasons why the Atacama Desert should be on your bucket list, and you’ll find out the true wonder of this spectacular desert when you visit. Why is it so dry? A big air current in the area, called the Walker circulation, carries air downward. The windward side of a mountain range is … You'd think that but the Atacama is actually west of the Andes. Why so dry? The deserts of the world today are not the deserts of the planet's past. The trade or prevailing winds blow from the east (not the west), so when air rises due to higher terrain, the air cools and condenses on the windward side (Amazon Rainforest) and then precipitation falls. The region is prone to long periods of drought, and climate scientists suspect that the desert received virtually no precipitation between 1570 and 1971 — a period of over 400 years. Tres Marias in Atacama Desert. Hereof, why is the Atacama desert so important? As a definition, a desert is a hot area of land that gets very little rain — not more than 200mm a year, where temperatures during the daytime can get as high as 55°C. Its limits are not exactly determined, but it lies mainly between the south bend of the Loa River and the mountains separating the Salado-Copiapó drainage basins. Then there are the parts of the Atacama that, as far as weather stations can tell, have never received any rainfall. Since it is a part of the Andes Mountain Ranges Volcanic Belt, ground water storage is low, due to extremely high temperatures below the ground. The reason these rock carvings are so well preserved and why the Atacama Desert in general is such a hotbed for archeology is because of the dry climate, which has preserved items which would have been lost in more humid climates. So Why Is The Desert So Dry? If you take a look at a globe, you'll notice that the majority of the world's deserts are located around 30 degrees north or south latitude. So we asked some people if they would like to share a taxi with us to Calama city. Chile's Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert on Earth -- and a ready analog for Mars' rugged, arid terrain. Why is the Atacama so dry? But if you’re ever in South America, a trip across the Atacama is well worth it. There is a disagreement about the driest place on earth. And in Calama we took a bus (1 1/2 hours) to San Pedro de Atacama. 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