The Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert (Desierto de Atacama) of Chile, South America, located between the Andes Mountains and the coastal Cordillera de la Costa mountain range is the oldest desert on the planet. However, with an average temperature of 18 C or 63 F it is not the hottest desert in the world but being sandwiched between two mountain ranges creates special atmospheric and weather conditions making it the driest non-polar desert in the world. The desert landscape is dry and arid with an otherworldly appearance and has been used for simulations of future expeditions to Mars. The driest part of the desert receives less that a millimeter of rain annually on average though rainstorms do occur on rare occasions which bring rapid but fleeting growths of wildflowers.
Although the Atacama is a desolate, inhospitable place today there is…
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