What Are Some Fun Atacama Desert Facts?


Quick Answer

The Atacama desert, one of the driest places on Earth, is a desert in South America that stretches about 600 miles from Peru into Chile. On average, the desert receives less than .004 inches of rain per year, which amounts to 4 inches of rain every 1,000 years.

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Full Answer

Although the desert does receive some rainfall each year on average, there are parts of the desert that have not seen any rain in over 400 years. Despite the harsh conditions of the Atacama, there are some areas with grass and plants that allow small animals and insects to survive. The town of Calama is also located in the desert, complete with places to stay, eat and shop. Archaeologists have discovered relics to prove that humans have been living in the dessert for thousands of years, including mummies that are at least 9,000 years old. Because there is almost no moisture in the desert, these artifacts have remained perfectly preserved.

Even though the Atacama is an extremely dry place, it is also a very cold place, with an average daily temperature of 32 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the desert is so cold, there are actually areas near the Andes Mountains where it may snow instead of rain.

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