Have you heard of that Atacama Desert? This South American desert is 600 miles longand lies between the southern border of Peru and Chile’s central coast. On this parched land, nothing can thrive, not a shrub not a lizard or even a tiny beetle — except for the million of people who call this wasteland home. Scientist call this desert the driest place on Earth.
(Photo by S. Rossi)
According to the National Geographic, there are stretches of the desert that may have never seen a drop of rain. On average, the desert only gets 4 inches of rain every 1000 years. For contrast, New York City receives 45 inches on average per year. Many of the people who in settle here live and work near the copper mines. They also live in the fishing villages on the coast.
So what’s it like to live in the dry hells-cape? For drinkable water, often the only want to get it is from the fog that blows in from the Pacific. According to Weather.com, “Local villagers even use specially-made fog “nets” to capture water from the air, using screens on which the fog condenses and drips into collecting troughs.”
If you’re thinking about visiting, don’t miss the Mano del Desierto sculpture. It’s a 36-foot high sculpture reaching out of the desert sand.
Travelers beware of the El Tatio geyser field. They’re beautiful to look at, and you can walk right up to them, but the boiling temperatures can scald you.