Thursday, October 29, 2015

El Nino Makes Barren Chilean Desert Bloom Gorgeously

The Atacama Desert in Chili is normally one of the most desolate places on Earth.

It's on the east side of the Andes mountains, and is pretty much blocked from any moisture that wants to sneak in from the Pacific Ocean.

Moisture from places like the Amazon, and the Atlantic Ocean way, way, way off to the east are also blocke by moisture.

So the Atacama desert is barren. It's one of the driest places on Earth. In many places in this desert, you can go years without measureable rain. There are actually little sections of this desert where it hasn't rained in 400 years! 

However, during a very strong El Nino, the kind we are having now, the ocean on the Chilean coastt warms, which encourages particularly strong storms to form near that Chilean coast.

The strong storms then allow some moisture to force its way over the mountains into the Atacama desert, and it will rain a little in parts of what looks like a wasteland.

Then a miracle happens. According to the Bored Panda web site this is what happens in those rare occasions when it rains:

"The flowers 'hibernating' beneath its surface suddenly bloom with an explosion of color, eager to take advantage of the rain.'

The Atacama desert then turns into a flowery psychelic paradise, as the photos in this post from Bored Panda indicate. (Click on the pics to make them bigger and easier to enjoy.)

Daniel Diaz, the National Tourism Service director in Atacama said in 2015, this bloom has happened twice in the same year, whih has never been seen in recorded history.

I'll just enjoy the photos of the flowers, and for once in my life, I'll wish I was in the Atacama desert.

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