Chile: A country that has been truly blessed with beautiful and very different types of scenery, not found anywhere else but in Chile. Go with me through this gallery and learn more, see more about this country.
Here is a map of Chile. This brings up many questions about who and why they made a country like this, so huge, but yet so skinny. And it’s beaches go all down the Pacific Ocean, and on the other side, the Patagonia mountains are shared by Chile and Argentina. Let’s go on this ride through Chile and see what a great country this is, and get some interesting facts along with this.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT CHILE:
Let’s start with the number one interesting fact about Chile: it is an astronomer’s paradise! This is due to several reasons. First, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile is the highest and driest desert in the world. It’s so dry that some of the Atacama’s riverbeds have been dry for 120,000 years. But these conditions make the Atacama Desert one of the best places for stargazing and observing the Milky Way.
Second, the dryness means there is less humidity in the air, offering better visibility. Being higher up means you’re closer to the galaxy and above much of the Earth’s atmosphere (which blurs and distorts light).
It’s so popular that the world’s most powerful observatory for studying the universe was set up here. The internationally funded Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) project was inaugurated in 2013, with the aim of looking at the first stars and galaxies that emerged from the cosmic “dark ages” around 13 billion years ago. It is expected to provide insight into star birth along with detailed imaging of local stars and planet formation. In addition, the observatory of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) in the Elqui Valley of northern Chile has been recognized and designated as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT CHILE:
In case you hadn’t realised, Chile is the narrowest country in the world, only 64 kilometres (39.7 miles) across at the narrowest point and 350 kilometres (217 miles) at the widest. It makes up for being so skinny by also being incredibly long, stretching a whopping 4,300 kilometres (2,670 miles) from north to south. Talk about a long drink of water!
Since Chile is so long and thin, there are numerous different climates and landscapes to explore within its borders. The Atacama Desert in the north of the country is the world’s driest, while there’s a Mediterranean climate in the middle of the country and then glaciers down south.
Unfortunately, Chile is also located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” which means it’s prone to seismic activity including earthquakes and volcano eruptions. That shouldn’t discourage you from visiting though, as the chance to see all those cute penguins, as well as seals, whales and the llama-like guanaco definitely balances it out!
Penguins roam free in Chile!
Ok, so maybe not exactly wandering down the streets of the big cities, but you can easily see penguins in Chile with a little effort! In fact, Chile is one of the best places to see wild penguins, and certainly easier than heading to Antarctica. It’s quite surprising really since a lot of Chile is quite dry, barren and/or elevated, but the coastline is a different matter.
Chile is home to five different species of penguin; the Magellanic, Humboldt, Southern Rockhopper, Macaroni and King penguins. Most of them can be found at the southern tip of the country and on nearby islands. We particularly enjoyed getting up very close and personal with the Magellanic penguins in Patagonia, who didn’t give two hoots (or squawks) about us being there.
One of the best things about visiting these cute little guys is that you are actually helping in their conservation by seeing them. According to scientists, visitors to Magdalena Island help keep predators away so that the penguins can breed in peace!
The world’s most powerful earthquake happened in Chile
If you’re staying in Chile, there’s a very high chance you’ll experience a terremoto (earthquake) or two. We felt several tremors during our stay in Santiago, one of them measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale!
Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries due to its location along the Ring of Fire. There are several earthquakes happening every day, which you can see on the Earthquake Track website. The world’s most powerful earthquake happened in Chile on 22 May 1960 near Valdivia. It had a magnitude of 9.5 on the Richter scale, and lasted for 11 minutes, with 6,000 unfortunate casualties. More recently, there was another serious earthquake in 2010, measuring 8.8.
One of the most remote islands in the world belongs to Chile
The Easter Island (its local name: “Rapa Nui” or “Isla de Pascua” in Spanish) fascinates everyone! This tiny Polynesian UNESCO listed island lies right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, around 2,300 miles (3,700 km) from mainland Chile. It requires a long 6-hour flight from Santiago to reach it, making it one of the most remote islands in the world!
The island is particularly famous for its 900 stone statues, called moai. The moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people between 1250 and 1500. They are instantly recognizable in modern-day pop culture by their giant heads – remember the episode when The Simpsons visited Easter Island? They are also revered for their sheer immensity. To give you an idea, the statues are so large that the average one weighs some 14 tons and stands almost 15 feet high (4.5 meters).
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