Rare flowers bloom in Chilean desert
October 30, 2015 2:17 AM   Subscribe

The ‘driest place on Earth’ is covered in pink flowers after a crazy year of rain. The Atacama Desert in Chile, known as the driest place on Earth, is awash with color after a year’s worth of extreme rainfall. (SLWaPo, plenty of pics, not a slideshow)
posted by hippybear (23 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Gorgeous! Thanks! Needed it after a nasty encounter with a troll elsewhere on the internet.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:59 AM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lovely. It reminds me that I should try to see the beauty in this world a little more often.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:19 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


the first time i visited the atacama (san pedro) it rained. absolutely pissed it down. everything failed. no electricity anywhere, the roofs all leaking. tried to return home early, but the roads were blocked (bridges down). sat indoors avoiding the drips and reading old magazines. starting to wonder if the "driest place in the world" thing is a tiny little fib (although as a country we've been getting less rain for years - this year has been not so bad, with "average" rainfall in much of the country, but less in the centre, where we - and about half the country - live).

never seen it like this, though. amazing.
posted by andrewcooke at 4:44 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I shot a travel feature there last December and it is an amazing, beautiful place even with no flowers. But this is just wonderful.
posted by chris24 at 5:35 AM on October 30, 2015


Gorgeous! I love it when deserts bloom.
posted by colfax at 6:34 AM on October 30, 2015


That one butterfly: "This is my malva flower. There are many like it, but this one is mine."
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:35 AM on October 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Strange that a flower evolved to endure the long wait for rain in the Atacama should prove to be a namby-pamby purple piece of frippery rather than a gnarled don't-fuck-with-me cactus.
posted by rongorongo at 6:45 AM on October 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Burn bright, burn short, etc.

Anyway, that frippery will kick all our asses when it comes to patience and durability.
posted by notyou at 6:52 AM on October 30, 2015


Beautiful. Thank you for the link.

Atacama is the eerie desert in Quantum of Solace.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:59 AM on October 30, 2015


I can't load pages from the Wapo any more. Every time I try I get told I need to subscribe.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:28 AM on October 30, 2015


@Chocolate Pickle (what an awful idea) - either open in a private tab, or search on google for "Rare flowers bloom in Chilean desert washington post" and follow the link from there.
posted by andrewcooke at 7:32 AM on October 30, 2015


Something something like the deserts miss the rain.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:03 AM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Incredibly beautiful.
posted by shenkerism at 8:06 AM on October 30, 2015


"A crazy year of rain," eh? Reminds me a bit of the crazy year of drought and fires on the North American West coast and the crazy winter of tropical storms in the Pacific, not to mention the crazy strong hurricane that just blew over Mexico and the crazy decades-long generation of meltwater river networks on the Greenland ice sheet.

/SHUT UP AND LOOK AT THE PRETTY FLOWERS
posted by 3urypteris at 8:36 AM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


3urypteris: Yup, climate change is happening. Clouds and silver linings.
posted by JDHarper at 9:00 AM on October 30, 2015


climate change is happening. Clouds and silver linings

Flowers are pretty, but in this context flowers appearing in large numbers in one of the driest places on earth "after a year’s worth of extreme rainfall" is not a silver lining, it's the footprint of gargantuan coalmine canary.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:17 AM on October 30, 2015


do you have some reference for that? because this happens sometimes. that's why the flowers are there - because this happens sometimes (it's some weird ecosystem that lies in wait for rain every N years).

maybe global warming makes el niño more common, but flowers here, sometimes, is normal.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:27 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if we start seeing it more and more often it could be another harbinger of climate change, but right now it's just the peculiar and extreme weather cycle these flowers are evolved for.
posted by tavella at 9:33 AM on October 30, 2015


do you have some reference for that?

Yes. I refer to two prior comments in this very thread, no more than a few centimeters above your own, implying the influence of global warming.

That is the purpose of the clause "in this context". Thus:

IF: (as implied by these comments) this is happening because of global warming,
THEN: attractive as it is, it is not a 'silver lining'.

Nothing more is intended.

 
posted by Herodios at 10:16 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The article says the flowers normally bloom when el niño brings rain, but that this is the most spectacular blooming event in a long time because the rain has been so much greater than usual.
posted by Bringer Tom at 10:17 AM on October 30, 2015


Death Valley Floods, October 2015.
posted by notyou at 11:27 AM on October 30, 2015


I thought the Atacama 'flowers' were actually some form of dried seed pods that spring open when exposed to rain...or am I confusing this with another phenomenon?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:08 AM on October 31, 2015


or am I confusing this with another phenomenon?

Sea monkeys.
posted by Wolof at 6:59 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


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