Atacama desert dating

"These tectonic movements enabled cold ocean water upwellings at the western coast of South America.

The cold ocean water stands in the way of precipitation along this coast." Uplifting story Dr Dunai is now looking into the theory that the dry conditions of the Atacama may have played a role in helping to drive up the Andes.

The lower image, which includes both visible and infrared light, helps distinguish between snow and clouds.

Snow is dark red, while clouds are lighter shades of orange and white. Parts of the Atacama Desert receive just 1 to 3 millimeters of precipitation per year (the local average is 50 mm, or 2 inches). Along with the snowfall, the winter storm also brought temperatures of -8.5C (17.6F) to Santiago, Chile.

Ordinarily, the flashes of white in South America’s Atacama Desert rise from salt pans.

The Atacama desert in South America has been in a super-dry state far longer than any other location on Earth - nearly 40 million years in some places.Parts of Uruguay and Argentina also coped with freezing temperatures.Several major copper mines were shuttered and overland transportation was snarled due to the snow, heavy rains, and flooding, according to news reports.More than 5,000 people had to abandon their homes in northern Chile, as many roofs in the desert region are not designed to withstand rain.Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images.

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