Thursday, July 25, 2013

Atacama: the driest desert in the world


The dictionary defines a biome with the name of "desert" as the area of ​​land in which rainfall rarely exceeds 250 mm per year. How do we call a place where it rains every 15 years??? Just something sub-classified (and note that it is not redundant) like a "dry" desert.

The Atacama Desert, the driest in the world, is located in the north of Chile, in the regions of Arica and Parinacota, Tarapaca, Antofagasta and northern Atacama Region. This desert is surrounded by the Andes mountains and the coast, covering about 105 000 km ². It is part of the Pacific Desert ecoregion, which includes all the coastal deserts of Chile and Peru.

The main cause of its origin is a global climatic phenomenon at this latitude creates deserts on the western coasts of all the continents of the Southern Hemisphere. Great stable high pressure systems known as anticyclones Pacific, remain along the coast, creating winds eastward moving storms. Moreover, the Humboldt Current carries cold water from Antarctica northward along the Chilean and Peruvian coast, water cooling sea breezes from the west, reduces evaporation and creates a cold air inversion-immobilized under a layer of warm air, preventing the formation of large clouds, producing rain.

The Atacama Desert is rich in metallic mineral resources such as copper, gold, silver and iron, as well as non-metallic minerals, among which significant deposits of boron, lithium, sodium nitrate and potassium salts. Also notable is the Salar de Atacama, which extracts the bischofita, permazante agent used in road construction.

Sports in the desert, the Atacama Desert is home to the world's athletesof the road. In this desert there have been various Baja Atacama Rally Championships, Rally Baja Chile, Patagonia Atacama Rally, and received the Dakar Rally Series in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, organized by ASO This desert dunes are ideal for this type of sport, located on the outskirts of the city of Copiapo, Atacama Region.

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