Sunday, May 13, 2012
Photos: The High Desert of the Atacama
Sunrise at the highest altitude geyser field in the world is worth the very early departure to reach this location high in the Andes of northern Chile. The geysers erupt only in the morning for a few hours, and the steam hitting the below-freezing air adds drama to the scene.
Although the Atacama is the driest desert on earth, there are some lakes in this rather desolate terrain. The evaporation of the water in this dry climate leaves a crusty ring of salts and minerals around the shore of many of the lakes, which adds a nice accent to photos like this.
This is a close photo of one of the bubbling geysers. It is possible to walk right up to, and step over, some of the geothermal activity.
This geyser has bubbled up long enough in the same place to leave a cone of mineral deposits.A few flamingoes examine the shallow water for brine shrimp or other morsels. It is remarkable to find water fowl living in the middle of a desert.