FOLLOWING A YEAR OF UNUSUALLY HEAVY RAINS, SOME OF THE DRIEST PLACES ON EARTH ARE SET TO BLOOM WITH MILLIONS OF WILDFLOWERS
In the Atacama Desert, malva flowers have turned the normally brown soil a brilliant shade of pink; while a thousands of miles away to the north, fragile plants could soon be blossoming in Death Valley.
Located in a “rain shadow” (where very little precipitation falls), the Atacama is usually one of the driest places on the entire planet. In March and August of this year, rare heavy rain soaked his ground, leading to the current display of over 200 species blossoming in the desert.
Coinciding with the cyclical “El Niño” weather pattern, millions of flowers do periodically bloom in these desolate deserts. Buried beneath the surface, their bulbs await the arrival of the ephemeral moisture before bursting forth in an overwhelming display of colour.
The last time this happened in Death Valley was in 2005, when perfect conditions brought a “super-bloom” event to the area. With a strong “El Niño” predicted this year, possibly fuelled by climate change, conditions could once again be good for seeing this beautiful, rare “efflorescent” phenomenon.