6 Stories

One of the Driest Places on Earth Is Covered in Flowers

The Atacama Desert is blooming thanks to record rainfall

(Newser) - One of the driest, harshest landscapes in the world has been transformed into a psychedelic canvas of reds, purples, and greens after record-setting rain. Live Science reports that Chile's Atacama Desert averages just over half an inch of rain a year, with some parts of the desert getting even... More »

How Did 'White Gold' End Up in Chile's Desert?

Scientists think nitrates came from ancient groundwater, not evaporation from the sea

(Newser) - Chile's Atacama Desert—the world's highest and driest—is packed with what's been called "white gold": nitrate deposits that have been historically important. The nitrates found there were key to World War I bombs and battling iodine deficiency, LiveScience reports. But until now, just how the... More »

Mammoth Astronomy Project Goes Live High in the Andes

World's biggest radio telescope will look into darkest regions of space

(Newser) - Today marks the launch of what the Miami Herald calls "one of the most ambitious astronomy projects in the history of mankind": the world's largest radio telescope. The $1.4 billion Atacama Large Millimeter Array finds a home 16,400 feet above sea level in Chile's Andes... More »

Chile Starts Digging Miner Rescue Shaft

NASA pitching in to help trapped miners

(Newser) - Three months and 29 days to go: Engineers have begun drilling the shaft through which they hope to rescue the 33 miners trapped in a collapsed gold mine deep below Chile's Atacama Desert. The rescue shaft, begun late yesterday, must reach down 2,300 feet to the emergency shelter where... More »

Crying Miners Send Love to Families

New video a dark postcard for those waiting above

(Newser) - A new video released yesterday of 33 men trapped in a mine under Chile's Atacama Desert shows them sending emotional greetings to their families, talking about how they are doing better since receiving food, and breaking into tears as they turn to thoughts of loved ones. The miners, who have... More »

Giant Penguin Fossils Found in Peruvian Desert

Spearfishing birds waddled the earth 36 million years ago

(Newser) - Penguins haven't always lived on ice, scientists have concluded after unearthing fossils of giant penguins in Peru's Atacama desert. The penguins, nearly human-sized at 4.5 feet tall, had extraordinarily long beaks apparently used for spearfishing, and waddled the earth some 36 million years ago, the National Geographic News reports.... More »

6 Stories