The Atacama Desert in bloom is a marvelous sight and a delight for biologists looking to take the short-lived opportunity to document and catalogue the wealth of sudden flora.
One of the driest places on the globe after polar regions, the Atacama Desert spans a large swath of arid land, from Peru to Chile. Typically dry and without much to show except a desolate, albeit majestic desert landscape, it is now blanketed by a marvelous carpet of pink bloom.
A rare sight taking place only when the region gets above average rainfall is due to the blooming of the Malva or Mallow flowers. With their bloom, the Atacama desert is experiencing what it called ‘desierto florido’ or the flourishing desert. Mallow flowers aren’t the only wonders the Atacama desert is blessed with. With their blooming, a number of species have been drawn to the abundant source of nourishment. Birds, lizards and many insect species are following the flourishing desert.
The Atacama desert in bloom is a marvelous sight indeed. Home to over 200 plant species, the Atacama desert rarely offers biologists to take a closer look to what happens here. Of them, the mallow flowers are the most predominant. Their pink flowers are embellishing the landscape and offer visitors a unique sight.
Daniel Diaz, the director of the National Tourism Service for the Atacama desert declared:
“The Atacama region was punished, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flourishing desert, something that happens only after the rains, this time brought about by El Niño and climate change”.
This year the Atacama desert has bloomed twice. This is a record occurrence, that has never been recorded before. With the surprise, come the benefits of a tourist inflation. The Chilean tourism office is expecting record number of tourists that will come to enjoy the unique sight.
The conditions bringing about this natural spectacle are due to the El Niño phenomenon, happening every two to seven years. With the change of weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean, many regions experience heavy rain conditions and floods.
25 people have died in the latest floods occurring in the regions, while thousands of others have been displaced. The flourishing desert is expected to last only until next month. For those looking to capture more unique desert landscapes, the Utah desert is also known to be covered in a splendid blanket of flowers following rainy seasons.
Photo Credits: Livescience