THE ATACAMA DESERT IS DAZZLING IN PINK
(P1) After Chile’s extraordinarily heavy rain this season, the Atacama Desert has become a flowering SPECTACLE.
(P2) The driest desert in the world, located on the Pacific coast and covering 600 miles of land, has suddenly SPROUTED a GORGEOUS CARPET of wildflowers, a PHENOMENON that only occurs when enough rain has fallen.
(P3) One of only three deserts in the world which naturally blooms – others being in North America and Australia – the Atacama Desert has well over 200 different species. Mallow is the most dominant of these flowers and creates the perfect pink colour.
(P4) Chile’s National Tourism Service director said that “The Atacama region was punished by heavy rains, but also blessed by the phenomenon of a flowering desert, something that happens only after the rains.” He also stated that “It is a unique experience and we take the opportunity to observe how flowers live and to catalogue them”.
(P5) Visitors are expected to flock to this usually BARREN LANDSCAPE – with 20,000 tourists predicted to visit until November, when the floral FACADE is likely to start losing its LUSTER.
(P6) This particular phenomenon is called desierto florido, or flowering desert, and is always followed by a FLURRY of birds, insects and lizards which delight in the food it offers; making these rare occurrences extremely beneficial for WILDLIFE.
(P7) The Utah desert is another of these extremely dry areas where this particular phenomenon takes place. However it is often SHORT-LIVED. To CONSERVE MOISTURE, the plants often do not live TERRIBLY long. Wildflowers which bloom here include plants such as littleleaf mock orange Cercocarpus, western thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus and Fairy bells Disporum trachycarpum.
(P8) Whilst this phenomenon in Chile is quite remarkable, the heavy rains can also prove DEADLY, with people killed and thousands left homeless by flooding that follows the sudden rains.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- What is your favorite color? Why do you think it is your favorite?
- Is where you live dry, wet, or a MIXTURE depending on the season?
- Have you ever grown flowers in a garden?
- What is the prettiest landscape you have ever seen while traveling?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.