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Flowers Bloom in Chile's Atacama Desert

Months of heavy rainfall brought on by meteorological phenomenon El Niño have transformed the Atacama desert into a blooming field of flowers. Although considered one of the driest places on Earth, the desert received its heaviest rainfall in two decades and is now awash with color.

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A mallow field in full bloom.
A mallow field in full bloom. Photo:EFE
The strong impact of El Niño meant the desert received the necesary rainfall to germinate the bulbs and rhizome (which grow horizontally below the surface).
The strong impact of El Niño meant the desert received the necesary rainfall to germinate the bulbs and rhizome (which grow horizontally below the surface). Photo:EFE
Thousands of flowers including the borarea ovallei, a species endemic to Chile and the colondrina congiscapa have turned the desert into a multicolor spectacular.
Thousands of flowers including the borarea ovallei, a species endemic to Chile and the colondrina congiscapa have turned the desert into a multicolor spectacular. Photo:Martha Zabaleta / teleSUR
The desert normally blooms every five to seven years but this year the phenomenon has been particularly intense.
The desert normally blooms every five to seven years but this year the phenomenon has been particularly intense. Photo:EFE
Violet, white and yellow flowers of the rhodophiala rhodolirion and nolana parradoxa species color the typically arid landscape.
Violet, white and yellow flowers of the rhodophiala rhodolirion and nolana parradoxa species color the typically arid landscape. Photo:EFE
The region has experienced a 40 percent rise in tourist numbers as visitors flock to see the flowering desert.
The region has experienced a 40 percent rise in tourist numbers as visitors flock to see the flowering desert. Photo:Espores
The Atacama desert before the bloom.
The Atacama desert before the bloom. Photo:La Mula.Pe
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