Atacama Desert is one of the most fascinating deserts in world. Why like that? One of the reasons is that its soil and sand conditions are pretty much similar to that of Mars. Sensing NASA? Hell yes! We will get there. So, let us read some interesting Atacama Desert facts. We are sure, you will be surprised. Heads up! Atacama mummies are older than Egyptian mummies!
Atacama Desert Facts: 1-5
1. Atacama Desert is a desert situated on a plateau surrounding an area of 1,000 kilometres or 600 miles. It is present on the west coast of pacific and it lies to the west of Andes mountains.
2. It is present in South America and is spread out in Chile and Peru. Chile has complete control over Atacama Desert.
3. It mostly contains felsic lava (lava which contains feldspar and quartz igneous rocks), sand, salt lakes and its terrain is stony. Earlier there were rivers but they went dry some 12,000 years back.
4. It is considered as the driest desert in the world. According to the studies conducted by NASA, it is understood that it doesn’t receive rainfall more than 1mm per year. The desert didn’t receive proper rainfall from 1570 to 1971.
5. It is one of the few deserts which receive almost no rainfall. There are some areas in this desert which doesn’t receive rainfall at all. It is assumed that it is because of the presence of two mountain ranges (Andes and Chilean Coastal Range) on either side of this desert.
Atacama Desert Facts: 6-10
6. These mountain ranges block the moisture and clouds (from Pacific and Atlantic oceans) from entering the desert.
7. It falls in the rain shadow of Chilean Coastal Range. Don’t go by the name, it simply means that no rainfall on the areas which are under rain shadow. Adding to this, it falls on the Tropic of Capricorn.
8. As there is no water, one can paint the picture of the desert. The meagre presence of water and nutrients doesn’t allow the vegetation to grow and with vegetation being less in quantity, the animals seen here are also very few.
9. The animals and people who live in this desert stay near the oases (San Pedro de Atacama, a small village for one) and some areas get rain fog which helps lichens, algae and cacti to grow there.
10. The animals which are seen here are seagulls, Humboldt penguins, pelicans (near the coast) and foxes, deer, llamas and mice.