The Driest Place on Earth.

  Monika
  karma level 75139

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is famous for being the driest place in the world. It is a virtually rainless plateau that sits across a location nearly 600 miles wide and is 50 times drier than the Death Valley in the United States, with an average rainfall of just 1 millimeter per year across the region, while some weather stations have never reported any precipitation since they started keeping records.
Atacama's landscape has been carved by volcanic activity in the area and looks like no other. When you see the beautiful colors of the lagoons, volcanic peaks and vast salt basins that cover the desert, you will see why it is one of the most up-and-coming travel destinations in the world.
Lake view near Piedras Rojas (Red Stones) at over 4000m altitude


A view over part of Salar de Talar with beautiful red rock volcanoes in the background.

Laguna Miñiques, a high altitude lake sitting in a volcanic crater.

Given that the Atacama Desert is famous for being the driest place on Earth, it may come as a surprise to many to see a series of high altitude lagoons dotting across the area and providing a beautiful color contrast against the red volcanic landscapes. However, many hundreds of years ago, small periods of heavy rainfall caused water to accumulate in basins and create small lakes. Other lagoons formed from melting glaciers during the last ice age and have remained until this day. The lakes are generally extremely salty and given that more water evaporates in the area than falls, the lakes are technically drying up - although they will still be around for a while. 
View over Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) near the town of San Pedro.

Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is so named because the landscape is often compared to our moon.

Walking around the desert gives visitors a sense of being on 'another planet'.
Many visitors flock to the area to experience its famous 'otherworldly' landscape. The comparisons with faraway lands are not just aesthetic either - they are grounded in science. Samples of soil taken in the desert have been found to have a similar composition to samples taken from Mars. NASA even uses the area to test roving vehicles and other instruments before they depart on missions for the red planet.

Flamingos at Laguna Chaxa.

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is famous for being the driest place in the world. It is a virtually rainless plateau that sits across a location nearly 600 miles wide and is 50 times drier than the Death Valley in the United States, with an average rainfall of just 1 millimeter per year across the region, while some weather stations have never reported any precipitation since they started keeping records.
Atacama's landscape has been carved by volcanic activity in the area and looks like no other. When you see the beautiful colors of the lagoons, volcanic peaks and vast salt basins that cover the desert, you will see why it is one of the most up-and-coming travel destinations in the world.
Lake view near Piedras Rojas (Red Stones) at over 4000m altitude

A view over part of Salar de Talar with beautiful red rock volcanoes in the background.

Laguna Miñiques, a high altitude lake sitting in a volcanic crater.

Given that the Atacama Desert is famous for being the driest place on Earth, it may come as a surprise to many to see a series of high altitude lagoons dotting across the area and providing a beautiful color contrast against the red volcanic landscapes. However, many hundreds of years ago, small periods of heavy rainfall caused water to accumulate in basins and create small lakes. Other lagoons formed from melting glaciers during the last ice age and have remained until this day. The lakes are generally extremely salty and given that more water evaporates in the area than falls, the lakes are technically drying up - although they will still be around for a while. 
View over Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) near the town of San Pedro.

Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) is so named because the landscape is often compared to our moon.

Walking around the desert gives visitors a sense of being on 'another planet'.

Many visitors flock to the area to experience its famous 'otherworldly' landscape. The comparisons with faraway lands are not just aesthetic either - they are grounded in science. Samples of soil taken in the desert have been found to have a similar composition to samples taken from Mars. NASA even uses the area to test roving vehicles and other instruments before they depart on missions for the red planet.
Flamingos at Laguna Chaxa.

Vicunas are closely related to llamas and live in large herds close to water sources.

A bright summer's day at Laguna Chaxa.

The conical peak of the Lincancabur Volcano.



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