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Why Are Flowers Blooming in the Driest Desert on Earth?

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is one of the driest places in the world, but after a year of record downpours, something magical has happened: It’s a phenomenon called Desierto Florido, or Flowering Desert, and it means that bright pink flowers have sprung up all across the Atacama.

Though a small floral bloom is expected at this time of year, never has the result been so abundant and colorful. Earlier in the year, the desert underwent an increase in humidity and received an additional 2.4 inches of rain. This bizarre weather pattern is believed to be the same one that produced the enormously powerful Hurricane Patricia.

RELATED:How To Survive a Hurricane in a Hotel Room

The Atacama Desert is just two hours from Chile’s capital of Santiago, and tour operators in Chile are ready to bring tourists through the mountains and into the desert to experience this phenomenon. The National Tourism Service expects the flowers will bring 20,000 tourists to the area and asks those who come to refrain from cutting the flowers.

The flowers are expected to disappear after November, but even if you can’t make it to Chile by then, you can still enjoy some of the incredible photographs from travelers on Instagram:

A photo posted by Paola Castro (@paola_acv) on Oct 24, 2015 at 12:15pm PDT

A photo posted by Paola Castro (@paola_acv) on Oct 29, 2015 at 5:38pm PDT

A photo posted by @chiletravel on Sep 2, 2015 at 2:24pm PDT

A photo posted by Alejandro Enrique (@aleardile) on Oct 19, 2015 at 6:26am PDT

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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.

(Photo: Guillermo Andre via flickr/CC Attribution)

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