ATACAMA DESERT: DESERT UNDER THE SKIES
The 20 million years old Atacama Desert is 600 miles long along the coastline of Chile and Peru.
The Atacama Desert is 600 miles long along the coastline of Chile and Peru that is more than 20 million years old. It is the driest place on Earth and the average rainfall is just one millimeter a year. Its hyper arid conditions are studied by researchers studying life on other planets, NASA tests, and astronomical observatories. The arid climate has preserved this rich cultural past, including the world's oldest mummies village ruins, and giant geoglyphs that used to guide caravans through the desert a thousand years ago. Today, more than a million people live in the Atacama, in coastal cities, mining compounds, fishing villages and oasis towns. They employ intriguing and inventive solutions, both traditional and modern-day, to survive off the arid landscape. The Atacama also hosts the world's largest open pit copper mine, yielding more than 600-thousand tons of fine copper each year.