Where there is the driest place of Earth?At first sight, a question seem very simple. But you do not hurry with the answer. From school geography the majority of us remember about deserts. Also the answer is at once ready: hot African Sahara. Where still, say, can be hotter how not in this greatest “oven“ of our planet? But answer wrong!
In many reference books it is not about the Sahara as about the driest place on Earth at all, and about the Atacama Desert in Chile. For example, the whole article in Wikipedia is devoted to it. In this article, in particular, there are such words: “The Atacama Desert is considered the driest desert of Earth“. Unfortunately, not all from reading this article paid attention that the speech about deserts. But great dry can be not only in them! However went - went to walk on the Internet (and not only on it!) judgment into that account that supposedly the dry place on the planet - the Atacama Desert. And actually the driest place in … To Antarctica! You do not trust?
Yes, it is not possible to believe in such paradox at once. But the fact is the fact which cannot be challenged. And there is a wish to challenge at first! It is difficult to understand how while in Antarctica 99,7 percent of water of the planet, and … record dryness are concentrated! And it means total absence of humidity at very high temperatures of air. However the most high temperature in the summer in Antarctica only plus five degrees!
Icebergs, penguins, the huge territory under multikilometer ice, the strongest frosts, gale-force winds and suddenly … a particle of Antarctica, improbable on dryness! The fantasy turns pale at such facts. But where there is on the white continent so amazing place?
It is so-called Dry valleys - oases: Victoria, Rayter and Taylor to the West from the passage Mack - Merdo. In them from - for extremely dry air and very strong winds there are no ice and snow at all. Valleys by Robert Scott in 1903 were opened. In these parts very long time was not possible to find signs of any life. And only in 1978 the American biologists managed to find bacteria … stones inside.
Climate in the called valleys so severe that it is compared to Martian. By the way, not incidentally spacecrafts and the equipment developed for future manned stations of Mars are tested in Antarctica.
In general Antarctica - a miracle from miracles on our planet! What is cost by pictures of the volcano which is throwing up in ices Erebus! How many volcanoes on the coldest continent - the scientist are still precisely unknown. Other of them went out long ago and are hidden under ices. Some even under huge thickness of ice have an effect.
We will tell, the volcano found recently scientific under ice at a kilometer depth on Mary Byrd`s Earth. That it is a volcano, volcanic ashes in ice demonstrate. Besides, in 2010 and in 2011 pushes were fixed here. Ice and the heated lava - things, apparently, incompatible. It is more surprising by that that volcanoes of Antarctica quite “get on“ with ices. However, under thickness of ices there are not only volcanoes, and and huge lakes.
But let`s return to Dry valleys nevertheless. Their area - about eight thousand square kilometers. Valleys - the biggest in Antarctica uncovered snow and ice the territory. Any rainfall in valleys was not over one million years! How these hollows were formed? About two million years ago in these parts there were powerful glaciers. They gradually slipped in the sea, and Antarctica during this time “departured“ further - in more severe part of the planet. As a result the climate changed, the strongest winds began to blow in the lowlands “dug“ by glaciers and from - for them on a surface of valleys rainfall does not get.