Atacama desert carpeted with surprise floral bloom

August 24, 2017, 8:36 a.m.
Flowers bloom in Chile's Atacama Desert.
Photo: Carlos Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images

In Chile's Atacama desert, the driest place on Earth, flowers usually bloom just once every seven years due to lack of rainfall. The last bloom was in 2015 (pictured above), so we weren't expecting another one anytime soon.

However, residents of and visitors to the area are in for a visual treat. Due to heavy rainfall during the winter, white and purple buds are unexpectedly popping out of the ground and coloring the landscape in a bonus bloom.

More than 200 species of flowers grow in the desert, and tourism officials told the BBC they hoped more flowers would bloom in the next few weeks as different species germinate at different times.

Tourists and scientists are traveling to the 49,000-square-mile desert, which borders Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, for the rare opportunity to snap photos of scenes that simply don't seem real.

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