Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

There are flowers blooming in the driest desert on Earth and they're amazing

3052952-slide-s-1-denise-gershbein.jpg

When you think of a desert, the mental images that spring to mind are not of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Atacama Desert

But that’s the scene that is currently spread across the driest place on earth.

Coating the sandy soil of Chile’s Atacama Desert are fields of purple, pink and white flowers. 

The phenomenon is called a “desierto florido” (desert in bloom) and is thanks to an irregular climate warming of the Pacific Ocean waters, called El Nino, which happens off the coast of northern Chile.

 

#desiertoflorido #chile #atacama #2015

A photo posted by Eleonora Urrutia (@maria_eleonora_urrutia) on

According to Pedro León Lobos, a botanist with Chile’s Institute of Agriculture and Livestock Research (IRA), it only happens once every five to seven years. 

The warmer waters alter the flow of air across the region, dealing potentially dramatic changes to the area’s rainfall patterns.

Normally, the Atacama desert is one of the world’s driest locations, on average getting less than 4 millimeters of rain per year. But unusually strong rains in late March dumped seven years’ worth of rain virtually overnight on the region, causing major floods.

 

#CostaneraColorRun #desiertoflorido #chile me quiero ganar el kit

A photo posted by @karennina.ls on

The devastating storms kickstarted the germination of millions of seeds of annual plants, some of which bloomed in patches across the Atacama in March. 

Further storms in August supercharged the flowers’ growth, and more began to bloom in late September — a rare “double bloom” the likes of which have not been seen before.

More than 20,000 tourists are expected to visit the desert to see the unusual bloom. The phenomenon should continue through November.

#nofilter needed.

Related

hangover-cure-foods-around-the-world.jpg

The 10 most delectable hangover cures from around the world

the boot new zealand bnb 2.jpg

The world's most extraordinary sleepovers

leo.jpg

Meet Sweden's Leo DiCaprio doppleganger

#1Kotor-2.jpg

Lonely Planet reveals 2016's must-visit cities, regions and countries

airbnb8.JPG

Sleep among the dead with Airbnb's creepiest listing yet

GettyImages-563474435.jpg

Flying to New York could soon cost as little as £45

Modular home, Tintaldra, Australia

Escape to these DIY homes around the world

601335_427662913986251_299547561_n.jpg

Ten of the UK's most romantic hotels for an autumn escape

ThinkstockPhotos-470518342.jpg

Behold the world's friendliest places to visit

Comments

More

The insider tips to help you bag a cheaper holiday

Sneaky flexi-flight tricks and Sunday arrivals

by Amy Swales
23 Mar 2017

It's official: This is the world's best holiday destination

And you might be surprised by which destination came in second.

by Hayley Spencer
23 Mar 2017

The top six #springtime photos taking over your Instagram feed

Believe it or not, spring has sprung...

22 Mar 2017

Uncover art and hidden history in the Bavarian city of Munich

Stylist discovers there's more to Munich than beer and sausages

by The Stylist web team
21 Mar 2017

Travel expert reveals cheapest and most expensive days to fly

Read this before you book your big summer holiday…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Mar 2017

It's official: these are the world's 10 best cities to live in

And most of them are in Europe

by Sarah Biddlecombe
14 Mar 2017

Here’s what the new “UK Disneyland” will look like

Dazzling sketches of the upcoming resort have just been released.

by Moya Crockett
13 Mar 2017

Take time out to refresh your body and palate in Iceland

Stylist's editorial assistant tastes home-grown goodness in Reykjavik

by  Moya Lothian-McLean
06 Mar 2017

You and your BFF could Instagram your way around Europe for free

This actually sounds like the best job in the world

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Feb 2017

Add some colour to your life in Aarhus, Denmark's second city

Discover Aarhus, one of 2017's European Capitals of Culture

by The Stylist web team
28 Feb 2017