Where Is the Driest Place on Earth?

You might guess that the driest place on earth would be found in the Sahara, the world’s largest desert. But there are places in the Sahara that could seem wet compared to a region of South America that can rightly claim to be the driest place on earth.

The Atacama Desert is in the northernmost part of Chile, extending into Argentina and Bolivia. Parts of this desert receive not a single drop of rain in an average year! Records show that until 1971, parts of the Atacama Desert did not receive rain for about 400 years, the longest drought in history.

Arica, a town in the Atacama Desert, received no rain at all for 19 years of a recent 30-year period. During a 60-year period, rainfall In Arica averaged just 3/100ths of an inch a year, and half of all the rain that fell in Arica during that period fell in a single year.