The Atacama Desert is located in the highlands of South America, reaching 600 miles wide on the Pacific coast of South America.
This desert area is included in the territories of Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, and Peru.
The Atacama Desert has a semi-arid climate, a climate in an area that receives little rainfall. The middle of the desert even has a hyper-arid climate due to very little rainfall.
The Atacama Desert is well known for its uniqueness as the driest area in the world. Rainfall in the desert is only 25 mm every ten years.
Cause of Hot Temperatures
The dry climate is caused by the geographical location of the Atacama Desert. The desert is surrounded by the snowy Andes mountains, blocking access to rain.
Another cause is the phenomenon of upwelling or cold currents from the seabed to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. This phenomenon restrains evaporative currents in the oceans; consequently, rain rarely occurs.
Even NASA tested the equipment that will be used to go to Mars in the Atacama Desert.
The Air Temperature is Very Extreme
The air temperature in the Atacama Desert is very extreme, during the day, the temperature in the desert can reach 40 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, at night, the temperature drops drastically, to only 5 degrees Celsius.
During the day, the air is very hot and dry. Meanwhile, at night, the air is very low, causing the mountain peaks to be covered with snow.
The geographical conditions and extreme temperatures in the desert cause few plants and animals to live in this desert.
Plants and Animals in the Atacama Desert
There are only a few types of plants and animals that are able to adapt.
Some of the plants that exist in the Atacama Desert are the Nolanaceae, Cataceae, Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, and Apiacea families.
While the animals that exist include lizards, vicunas, scorpions, and several species of birds.
The Cleanest and Pollution-Free Area
Not many living creatures live in the desert. Therefore, the area is still very clean and free of pollution.
The sky looks very clean, and the view of the sky at night will be beautiful. The moon and stars will be seen clearly, and this location is often used as an observatory to observe celestial objects.
Has Many Natural Resources
There are many natural resources in the Atacama Desert, especially mineral resources. Various minerals can be found in the area, such as sodium nitrate, lithium, iodine, and copper. Therefore, there are many mines that were built.
One of the famous mines is in Chile, namely San Jose. The mine went viral in 2010 because it managed to save 33 workers trapped in the pit.
Historic Place as the Biggest Battle Site in South America
The Atacama Desert is one of the most historic places in South America. At that time, there was a war between Chile, a coalition of Peru, and Bolivia.
The war took place in 1879–1884 and killed about 28 thousand troops. The war is called the War of the Pacific. Chile won the war and made parts of the coasts of Bolivia and Peru belong to Chile.