Wednesday, November 18, 2015
A Barren Chilean Desert Comes Alive
A beautiful piece of nature that needs to be told. It is a brief visitation but it is particularly unusual in that dormancy is for years.
When we do irrigate deserts, we should first allow a natural emergence phase in order to catalogue the indigenous seed stock. We may be surprised at what emerges.
Plants have gone extinct, but deserts have a way of preserving the impossible.
A barren Chilean desert comes alive; covered in beautiful flowers
In what is usually one of the driest and most barren landscapes in the world, today, a sea of rare pink and purple flowers blooms.
Chile’s Atamaca Desert is a parched part of the world, to put it mildly. One city in the region once went 173 months without rain, and another sees just 0.18cm of rain per year, reports the Washington Post.
But this is an El Niño year, when a band of warm ocean water in the Pacific wreaks havoc with weather systems in North and South America.
In March, El Niño brought 2.44cm of rain in one day. That might sound like small potatoes to those of us who live in climates that at least occasionally necessitate rubber boots, but in a desert that can go years without seeing a drop, it caused flash floods that caused numerous fatalities.
The Atamaca desert is home to malva flowers, which bloom every five to seven years and often at the same time as El Niño, which has a similarly cyclical nature. This year was especially wet — even for an El Niño year — so when the malva flowers opened their petals to the world, it was a truly astounding sight.
Locals say it is the most spectacular bloom in 18 years.
Residents shouldn’t get to used to the stunning beauty that now suddenly surrounds them, however. ABC Australia reports that the flowers will disappear sometime in November.
Until then, those in the area would be well advised to spend the maximum time possible skipping, frolicking and inhaling deeply.