Geek Trivia

The Driest Desert On Earth Is Located In?

Russia
Nigeria
Egypt
Chile
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The dry expanse of the Atacama Desert against a blue sky.
Valerio Pillar/Wikimedia

Answer: Chile

There are deserts and then there are deserts. It’s one thing to have low-rainfall, sand, and a general desert vibe, it’s another thing altogether to be the Atacama Desert, the driest desert on Earth. How dry? It’s difficult to wrap your mind around just how dry the Atacama is. The bulk of the desert is located along the narrow coast of the northern third of Chile and is unbelievably dry.

Some of the weather stations located in the desert have never recorded a drop of rainfall. Geologic evidence suggests that some regions of the desert may not have had any significant rainfall from 1570 to 1971. In fact, the region has been hyperarid (bone dry, for the layman) for the last three million years. The average rainfall across the entire region is a scant 0.6 inches a year with some regions receiving as little as 0.04 inches of precipitation.

The region is so arid and inhospitable that NASA has used the region to test equipment for Mars missions and directors have used the arid landscape as a backdrop for space-themed television shows and movies.