Talk:Atacama Desert

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I'm not sure if this should be at Atacama or at Atacama Desert. I definately should not be where it was, which was "Atacama desert]]. Either the word "desert" is part of its name (in which case it must, as a proper noun, be capitalised), or else the word "desert" is not part of its name, in which case the page should be at "Atacama" unless there is a need for disambiguation. Tannin 14:43, 30 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The name for this region is, in Spanish, "Desierto de Atacama", which translates as "Atacama Desert". Thus, the name Atacama Desert Should be the one in use here.

Atacama Desert is completly in Chile, it doesn´t reach Peru, and reach until the Andes to the east. The map of National Geographic cited as reference is wrong, and even this map shows an area also completely in Chile. -- 00:43, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

It Would Be Interesting to have a Section on Plant, Animal and Insect Life in the Desert[edit]

If there is any. (talk) 19:08, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Driest place?[edit]

What about the Dry Valleys in Antarctica? It hasn't rained for 2 million years.Tuwile 09:54, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Antarctica techinally isn't dry because ice is only frozen water. - anonymous —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:21, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I know this comment was a while ago, but just to this point, it isn't Antarctica as a whole which is being discussed, but the specific region of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, which are free from snow and ice cover. (talk) 01:34, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure dryness is a measure of rainfall. Tuwile 07:47, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

The Dry Valleys are indeed the dryest place on earth (with Atacama second) as can be evidenced on a number of scientific websites. See: One could quite easily find a journal entry to prove this. (talk) 16:57, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

The "aridity" section has these words: "[...] known as the driest non-polar place in the world, after the Eagle." What's "the eagle"? Is it another desert? Is that a bad edit of some sort? I don't know the answer so I won't make any change, but the text reads a little strangely at the top of the "aridity" section. The text which follows, "especially the surroundings of the abandoned Yungay town" is not capitalized, which implies strongly to me that some botched editing happened. Mcvoorhis (talk) 14:55, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

does it sustain any life[edit]

I lived in Atacama Desert (specifically in Antofagasta) for more than 40 years, so I can prove that information to be correct. In fact, the most amazing thing about certain regions in Atacama Desert is that you'll get no shadow at all... there is no place to cover your body from the sun.

No rain for 40 years?[edit]

I read somewhere that the figure is more like 400 years.

I don't know what do u mean with "dsoifsdoif...", but I certainly think that the phrase "and there was a period of 40 years in which there was no rainfall at all" should need citation...
It wasn't the same person who added the random string of letters ... Jackaranga (talk) 09:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)


I came to the article looking for the temperature range of the desert. Does anyone know? I think it should be added to the article if it can be corroborated. --Kimonandreou 10:57, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I was there in June (in the northern part which does lie in Peru, and my passport will prove that fact), and it was not very hot at all. In June it is the winter, but most of us were wearing sweatshirts. Since we are all from Florida that would place it around 60 degree. More around noon, but not that much. —Preceding unsigned comment added by


Currently, the Atacama Desert is littered with approximately 170 abandoned nitrate (or "saltpeter") mining towns, almost all of which were shut down decades after the invention of synthetic nitrate in Germany at the turn of the 20th century. Some of these abandoned towns include Chacabuco, Humberstone, Santa Laura, Pedro de Valdivia, Puelma, Maria Elena and Oficina Anita. Chacabuco is a special case since it was later converted into a concentration camp during Pinochet's regime. To this day it is surrounded by 98 lost landmines and is guarded by one man who lives there alone. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mikhajist (talkcontribs) 01:38, 3 December 2006 (UTC).

I'm removing the part about the camps since it's been needing citation for quite a while. --JD79 19:27, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

i like this fact lol so funny  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alyssacollins (talkcontribs) 16:10, 5 March 2013 (UTC) 


I am removing

Scientist have found an 800 year old girl mummy and have named it lawquisha and this proves that people lived in this desert over 800 years ago It really is.

Someone is free to replace it if they can source it, but with the bad grammar, my guess is that this is not true. Builderman 21:35, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Astronomical Observatories[edit]

This article makes reference only to the two facilities of the European Southern Observatory. The Atacama is home to three other large international observatories. The first is the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, operated by the US's National Optical Astronomy Observatory, on Cerro Tololo. Near Tololo on Cerro Pachon is the 8.3m Gemini-South telescope as well as the 4.2m SOAR telescope. And near Cerro La Silla is the Las Campanas Observatory, home to the 6.5m Magellan telescope. Chile is also the leading site candidate for 30-50m telescopes, for which designs are under development. Blazar1967 (talk) 14:47, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

900 km long????[edit]

Article of Wildlife Org ( states that Atacama Desert is 1,600 km long. It is even a source (#6) in this article, so I propose to change the 900 km figure, unless there is another source to back it up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:24, 22 January 2009 (UTC)


Would be nice to have a map that outlines exactly where this desert is, esp. the super-dry parts. The maps currently on the page are super vague.-- (talk) 01:22, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

That'd be super.  Xihr  03:50, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Add life [1] ?[edit]

Add life ? (talk) 02:56, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Appears not to be a stable URL (use {{cite news}}), and doesn't seem that relevant to this article; according to the WSJ article, it's not even the oldest living thing yet discovered. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:57, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Problem of width and area description[edit]

Another user mentioned this, we should get this clarified because it is confusing. I want to say something about the distance from the Pacific to the Andes and cannot get it from this article, which also needs more great photos.

KSRolph (talk) 04:25, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Driest place on earth? Antarctica[edit]

I lift the discussion again about the driest place on earth. According to this article it is Atacama desert, and four sources. That looks good (Nationa Geographic for exemple). In the Swedish article it is written that it is the second driest place, while McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctic is the driest. What is correct? A Goggle search on "driest place earth antarctica" gives 559 000 hits while "driest place earth atacama" gives 117 000. (Atacama is the driest warm desert, thats for sure, but a desert might be a cold desert too, according to that wikipedia article. Adville (talk) 19:22, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

As far as my understanding the Dry Valleys of Antarctica are dried. Atacama would then be the driest non-polar place on earth. Of course, this need to be properly sourced. Besides that I don't think a Google search is adequate to determine a scientific topic as it might very well reflect popular misconceptions. Chiton (talk) 19:56, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Atacama is the driest non-polar place, that's right, but Dry valley is the question. You are right, Chiton, that a google search is not science, but it gives a hint that thsi might be something to look deeper into to solve the problem, because it is easy to find good links to both "truths", like this for Dry Valley. That¨s what troubbled me. Best regards Adville (talk) 20:16, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

What's the etymology of Atacama?[edit]

Böri (talk) 11:48, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

The etymology of the word appears to be uncertain. Here's a (rather old) source[2]. Not really much there for a claim in the article. Richigi (talk) 17:23, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Reverted 3 edits by anon user and one image addition[edit]

Reverted three very editorial claims by an anonymous editor regarding the accuracy of statements in the article. If you find claims in the article to be inaccurate or misleading, by all means correct them: replace misleading statements with accurate ones and support the claim with a reliable source. If you don't feel up to the research but wish to voice your objection, the Talk page is the proper place, not the article. The objections raised were, in short: sweeping statements based on unreliable sources, unsourced claim about zero precipitation, and a (confusing) note about desierto florido. To address the last, desierto florido is mentioned in the Flora subsection.

Also reverted was an image of llamas shoehorned in (surprisingly, llamas are not mentioned in this article). This article is already overloaded with images (lengthy gallery), many of which are better quality. Richigi (talk) 16:47, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Ata the humanoid?[edit]

Anyone knows if this is true? If so there should definitely be a mention here. "DNA and other tests suggest the individual was a human and was 6 to 8 years of age when he or she died. Even so, the remains were just 6 inches (15 centimeters) long. [...] DNA suggested the individual came from the Atacama, particularly from the B2 haplotype group." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:56, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Clean up needed to make sure names of seasons are used correctly[edit]

"This phenomenon is called the altiplano winter, which can produce a little rain and abundant electrical storms, and occurs in January and February..."

If it occurs in January and February in the Southern Hemisphere it does NOT occur in winter! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 20 May 2013 (UTC)


"The rainfall in the Chilean region of the Atacama Desert is between 1 millimetre (0.04 in)[1] and 15 millimetres (0.59 in)[2] per year, with an average of 50 millimetres (1.97 in) per year.[1]"

This doesn't make sense. If the region gets between 1 millimetre (0.04 in) and 15 millimetres (0.59 in) per year, how can the average be 50 millimetres (1.97 in) per year? (talk) 14:35, 7 July 2013 (UTC)


Could information be added about animals who managed to live in this place, the "driest on Earth"? (talk) 14:41, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Humboldt Current[edit]

At the end of the aridity section it states that the dryness is caused by the twin rain shadows, with no mention of the Humboldt Current, which is at least as responsible as the mountains. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:26, 9 March 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b [ "Rare snow in Atacama Desert: Image of the Day"] Check |url= value (help). NASA. 
  2. ^ "The desert biome". University of California Museum of Paleontology.