Desert erupts in floral beauty after unexpected rain falls | 2017-09-03 |

Desert erupts in floral beauty after unexpected rain falls

Sun Online Desk     3rd September, 2017 11:54:40 printer

Desert erupts in floral beauty after unexpected rain falls

An incredible spectacle has bloomed in Chile's Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, has sprouted a carpet of gorgeous colourful wildflowers.


One of only three deserts in the world that naturally blooms, the miles of psychedelic wonderland are actually mallow flowers, which bloom every five to seven years, typically based on El Nino.


But, this year, the bloom is arriving just two years after the last bloom after the heavy rain in mid August. The last desert bloom occurred in 2015.


Atacama is one of the most arid places in the world so visitors were shocked when they stumbled across the bloom of more than 200 floral species and endemic fauna.

It was so baffling the desert is now attracting thousands of tourists who are eager to see the flowers.


And we don’t blame them for wanting to witness the rare spectacle.


While there they may also catch a glimpse of the volcanoes, skyscrapers and dunes that make up the landscape of the area.


The desert also experiences thunderstorms that may make it seem like the end of the world is coming.


Stretching from the northern coast of Chile into southern Peru, the Atacama holds the record for the world's longest dry streak, having gone 173 months without a drop of rain in the early 20th century.

There are some spots of the Atacama where rainfall has actually never been recorded and the area is usually used as a stand-in for Mars, both in films and NASA rover experiments.


The last time the flowers bloomed en masse, just two years ago, it was after a March storm brought 0.96 inches of rain in a single day. While this doesn’t seem like that much, 0.9 inches accounts for over 14 years' worth of rain in one day, according to the Washington Post.


For those who want to see the flowers in person, which cover the 600 miles of land, head to Chile now. The expanse will begin to lose its flourish in early November.


Since different species germinate at different times, there's a chance the color of the bloom will change over the next few months, too.

The area is also famous for its incredible stargazing: With so few sustainable cities in the desert, light pollution is nearly non-existent, making the Atacama a favorite of astronomers.


If planning a trip to South America in the next week or so seems out of reach, think closer to home. The California and Utah deserts also sprout wildflowers come spring and summer, but the season is much more short-lived.


The series of images showing the plants were taken last Thursday.