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“Wettest”, the word itself takes us to the place where rain is pouring down all day long. It feels like we are in a fairyland where clouds never leave the sky. The Rain never stops… On the other hand “Driest” creates a picture of a place where sun shines all the year round with no rain at all!
Wettest and Driest Places on Earth
Have you wondered where these places could be? Let’s explore the wettest and driest places on Earth.
Wettest Place on Earth
Before moving ahead let’s take a look at the average rainfall in the world which is 990 millimeters per annum. Most of us associate Cherrapunji with the wettest place on Earth. But fact is different. The quiet, sleepy, yet mesmerizing village of Mawsynram trounced Cherrapunji to become the wettest place in the world. Mawsynram receives over 10,000 millimeters of rain in a year! Both Cherrapunji and Mawsynram lie in the North-Eastern Indian state of Meghalaya.
The word Meghalaya means, “abode of the clouds”. It consists of two Sanskrit words – “Megh” means cloud and “Alaya” means Abode/Home. Similarly, Himalaya means “abode of snow”, where “Him” means snow.
Laborers who work outdoors often wear full-body umbrellas made from bamboo and banana leaves. One of the most fascinating and beautiful features in the region are the “living bridges” spanning rain-soaked valleys. For centuries, locals have been training the roots of rubber trees to grow into natural bridges, far outlasting man-made wooden structures that rot in just a few years. The bridges are self-strengthening, becoming more substantial over time, as the root systems grow.
Driest Place on Earth
Another impressive place in the north of Chile is San Pedro de Atacama. The wind flow, the ocean currents and the surrounding mountains are some of the factors which create these fascinating and unique conditions. Yes, it’s the driest place on Earth – Atacama.
The average rainfall in the Atacama Desert is less than one millimeter per year, making it fifty times drier than Death Valley in California, USA. In fact, there are sectors that have never received a drop of rain, at least in the time since they started measuring!
Not only do its landscapes look like they’re on another planet, but also its soil, which is used by scientists to simulate the experience of stepping on Mars.
The impressive landscapes formed in the Atacama Desert not only amaze during the day with its beautiful sunrises and sunsets. At night, these special geographic conditions allow for an absolutely clear sky. For this reason, astronomers from around the world have come here to study the universe, developing the most important network of observatories.
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