List of Deserts in South America

Deserts in South America

There are quite a few deserts in the continent of South America. Here we will cover details about few famous South American deserts covering aspects like their geography, history, plants, animals, etymology, culture, people, Weather, Flora, Fauna and Water.

Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world especially the Antofagasta region in Chile. The Atacama Desert lies in the northern part of Chile and southern part of Peru. Few regions in the Atacama Desert have never received any rain while the average rainfall in the region being 1 mm. Most of the convective clouds are blocked by the Andes Mountain surrounding it and its location on the leeward side of the Chilean coastal range let little moisture from the Pacific Ocean to reach the region. The Atacama Desert is mostly populated along the coastal line but on an average it is sparsely populated. Most of the population in the interiors is limited to oases or mining areas. The Atacama Desert is at high altitude and average temperature ranges between 0 to 25 degrees centigrade. The desert has sparse vegetation and animal life. Atacama Desert has rich deposit of copper and sodium nitrate.

Sechura Desert

Towards the north of Atacama Desert is Sechura Desert located south of the piura region of Peru. The Sechura Desert is at the inland of the Andes Mountain ranges. Sechura Desert habitat is composed of equatorial dry forest. The weather is mostly dry with temperature ranging between 24 to 38 degrees centigrade in summer and 16 to 24 degrees centigrade in winters. Surprisingly, the desert has also been subject to flood and storms driven in from the Pacific Ocean.  Rainfall is scanty and occasional. Human population density is high as compared to other deserts in South America. The Sechura Desert has several varieties of migratory birds and animals. Flora and fauna here have specific physiology which enables them to survive in arid conditions of Sechura Desert.

Pantagonian Desert

The Pantagonian Desert is the seventh largest desert in the world located primarily in Argentina and some parts of Chile. The temperature varies because of its vast expanse but on an average during summers the temperature ranges between 26 to 31 degrees centigrade and in winters the range is -2 to 5 degrees centigrade. The desert receives scanty rainfall but is quite windy due to rain shadow impact. The vegetation is typical to any desert and is mostly in the form of desert shrubs. Animal life is mostly limited to the outskirts of the desert. Human settlements are located in the coastal region and resource mining region.

The other South American Deserts are La Guajira Desert and Monte Desert.

South America Deserts List

  • Atacama – a desert in Chile and Peru
  • La Guajira Desert – a desert in northern Colombia and Venezuela
  • Monte Desert – in Argentina, a smaller desert
  • Patagonian Desert – the largest desert in the Americas, located in Argentina and Chile
  • Sechura Desert – a desert located south of the Piura Region of Peru