Skip to navigationSkip to content
Flickr/EL GUILLE!, CC BY 2.0
Springtime.
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS

Photos: The world’s driest place is now bursting with color and blossoms

Thu-Huong Ha
By Thu-Huong Ha

Reporter

The Atacama region in northern Chile is a place of extremes: Blazingly hot during the day, freezing at night with stunningly clear skies—and really, really dry. Often cited as the driest place in the world, the Chilean desert doesn’t see much rain at all—but when it does, there are naturally extreme results.

This year the region has seen unprecedented rainfall, the heaviest in 20 years. In March, a mere .96 inches of rain one day contributed to floods that eventually left at least 25 dead. Months later, nature granted a small gift: the desert’s mallow flowers have bloomed to spectacular effect, as if in homage to the lost.

EPA/Mario Ruiz
EPA/Mario Ruiz
EPA/Mario Ruiz

Mallows usually bloom every five to seven years. This year’s bloom is said to be the largest in 18 years.

Image by EL GUILLE! on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.