Atacama virtual: English
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Landscapes and phenomena of the Atacama Region, Chile

The Desert is not always dry

Museo Virtual, Chile
W. Griem, 2015, 2017
Rain in the Atacama Desert: Running water on the slopes of the Copiapó hills, Atacama Region in 1997.

Photo W. Griem (1997): Rain in the Atacama Desert: Running water on the slopes of the Copiapó hills, Atacama Region in 1997. R1997-dig2005; Large photo

Information Photo:
Camera Ricoh KR-10x | Focal length: s/i | Shutter speed: s/i
Original size: 35mm | Date: 1997

Rains in the Atacama Desert

español / alemán / english

Sometimes it rains (see more) in the desert. It is rare, but in some years heavy rains occur during the winter months. The lack of a permanent hydrographic drainage network means that water is searched for any way down. An average of 12 to 16 mm of annual precipitation is generally mentioned (climate history timeline). This figure does not reflect reality, there are years, almost dry decades and rainfall accumulates in one event, with impressive amounts - but statistically reduced to 12 mm per year.

In some years the amount of water is enough that the desert blooms. In places without vegetation, flowers and plants appear in large numbers.

The heavy rains of March 2015 flooded large parts of the Copiapo Valley. The devastations caused by the mud flows were such that after 2 years the following are still clearly visible. (Here more: 2015-25M)

Information:
Some particularities of the Atacama Desert:
a) Low rainfall, average 12 mm / year
b) Extremely heavy, sporadic rainfall (such as in 1997)
c) Very high rate of evaporation and sublimation.
d) Soil hydrophobia produces little water penetration into the soil.
e) Lack of vegetation increases erosion.
f) Strong inclination of the tributaries produce very fast runs to the sea.
g) Low maturity of basins and tributaries - very short distances between feeding area and mouth produce strong variations in flow rates..

 

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Places of interest
Information about Atacama

Atacama desert and Atacama Region, Chile

Atacama
Travel instructions
Behavior in the desert
Specific terms
The Andes mountains (I)
The Andes mountains (II)
Atacama desert (1)
Atacama desert (2)
Rains in the Atacama  desert

Lluvia en Atacama
Lluvia 1997 en Atacama (3)
2015-25M (1)
2015-25M (2)
Datos cronológicos
Análisis

Flowering desert (1)
Flowering desert (2)
Flowering desert (3)
Snow in the Atacama desert (1)
Snow in the Atacama desert (2)
Las Dunas de Atacama

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Flowering desert

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geovirtual.cl: Mining, Geology and Atacama desert
Paipote Ravine with the International Road in the Atacama Desert after heavy rainfall in 2011.

Photo: Paipote Ravine with the International Road in the Atacama Desert after heavy rainfall in 2011.
Photo W. Griem (2011) Ca50D 7419 - large photo

Information Photo:
Camera Canon 50D | Lens: 18-200mm | Focal length: 60mm | Shutter speed: 1:200 | ISO100
F: f/13 | Original size: 4752 x 3168 | Date: 2011/07/9/14:30hrs.

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Virtual Museum of Atacama desert and Atacama Region, Chile

© Dr. Wolfgang Griem, Chile - all rights reserved  (Mail a Wolfgang Griem Uso de las páginas de geovirtual.cl y geovirtual2.cl)
Published: 17.2.2015, updated: 17.9.2017
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