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See what happens when a lot of rain falls in a desert

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, October 30, 2015, 4:55 PM - Located in South America and covering a 1,000-km stretch of land, the Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world. The majority of it 105,000 square kilometres is comprised of stones, salt lake and sand.

But precipitation can have a major impact on a normally-arid landscape. 

Chile's Atacama region was hit with some of the worst rains in 80 years last April, triggering major flooding and mudslides that killed 28 people.

The storms watered seeds that had been laying dormant in the desert for years, causing flowers to bloom.

Tourists have been flocking to the Atacama desert recently to take in the dazzling floral display.

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Experts say more than 200 plant species have surfaced and the birds, insects, rodents and lizards that live in the area have been feasting on the vegetation.

"It occurred in a very particular way because we have not had such a large flowering in the past 18 years. In 2010, we had a long flowering but already this year, 2015, has surpassed all the previous ones," Rodrigo Ruiz, acting regional director of Chile's National TourismService, Sernatur, told the International Business Times.

The Atacama desert isn't the only region that's seen an unusual flowering in recent months. In March, a warmer-than-average winter, coupled with heavy rainfall, allowed wildflowers to bloom in the typically harsh climate of California's Death Valley.

Source: International Business Times


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