In any given year, this plateau in northern Chile only gets about 0.6 inches of rain
Atacama desert in Chile is the driest place on earth. In fact, some weather stations in the desert have never recorded a single drop of rain. But a surprise rainfall in mid-August now has the desert in full-bloom.
The overnight blooming is not unheard of. The BBC reports that rare rains usually force the desert into bloom every five to seven years. Remarkably, this bloom comes just two years after a flash flood triggered a desert bloom in 2015.
The Atacama is arid because it’s sandwiched between the Andes and Chilean Costal Range. The high mountains on both sides typically prevent moisture from making it to the desert.
In any given year, this plateau in northern Chile only gets about 0.6 inches of rain.
The desert is often compared to Mars and the television show Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets used the desert for much of their filming.
The bloom typically lasts through September, so those wanting to venture to Chili still have a chance to catch the phenomenon.