Here, cold winds blowing off the ocean cause thick fog to form and drift inland. Water droplets in the fog soon dry up under the hot Sun, rather than falling as rain, leaving the land below very dry.

The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth. The Atacama is in the country of Chile in South America. In an average year, much of this desert gets less than 1 millimeter (0.04 inch) of rain! That makes it 50 times drier than Death Valley in California.

It is hard to survive in the Atacama Desert. Few people, animals, plants, or even microbes live there. But the desert isn’t completely without life. Some people and other living creatures do get by in the Atacama.

The north end of the Atacama Desert is near the border of Chile and Peru. It runs about 1,000 km (600 miles) south from there. It has an area of 140,000 km (54,000 square miles). That is about the size of the state of New York in the U.S.A.

The Atacama is the driest hot desert in the world. There are some weather stations in the Atacama where there has never been any rain! Not all deserts are hot. The Dry Valleys in Antarctica are cold deserts. They are the driest deserts on Earth.


Picture Credit : Google