Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.
- The BBC article calls the Atacama Desert the “world’s driest place.” How dry is it?
- Very! The Atacama is actually the world’s driest non-polar desert. Regions of both the Atacama and Antarctica have never experienced rain in their recorded histories.
- Why is the Atacama blooming now?
- What plant life normally survives the arid Atacama?
- Well, the dormant seeds that flower during a desierto florido event are still alive during the Atacama’s arid periods. They’re just not blooming!
- Besides the dormant flower seeds, hundreds of plants have adapted to life in the high desert. These include dozens of endemic species of drought-tolerant plants such as cacti, saltgrass, and succulents.
- Perhaps the most famous of the Atacama’s plant community is the yareta—what appears as a blob of bright green slime is actually the world’s highest-elevation woody plant. To conserve resources such as heat, moisture, and energy, the yareta is very dense and grows very slowly—a little more than one centimeter a year.
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