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Pink Flowers Blanket Driest Place on Earth

posted: 10/30/15
by: Danny Clemens
Flowering decierto de Atacama, Chile
alfnqn/iStock

Usually brown and barren, Chile's Atacama Desert is now home to a lush blanket of pink malva flowers.

Record rainfall in March spurred the roseate blossom, which covers large swaths of the world's driest, non-polar desert.

In a single day, an area of Chile that sees less than one-tenth of an inch of rainfall in an average year recorded nearly a full inch in only 12 hours. The town of Quillagua recorded its first rainfall in more than two decades.

Pink flowers in Atacama
ANTOINE LASSAGNE/AFP/Getty Images

The flowers are a symbol of rebirth and vitality in an area still trying to recover from the devastating flooding that resulted, which claimed nearly 30 lives and left thousands homeless.

"The Atacama region was punished, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flourishing desert, something that happens only after the rains, this time brought about by El Nino and climate change," Atacama National Tourism Service director Daniel Diaz told Spanish news agency EFE in an interview.

Although a large bloom also occurred in 2010, Diaz notes that this year's bloom is of unprecedented intensity.

Learn more about desert flora & fauna:

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