17 January 2009

A point of interest

The Driest Place on Earth

Antarctica is technically a dessert. It receives less than two inches of precipitation a year, about the same amount of precipitation as the Sahara Desert.

One interior region of the Antarctic is known as The Dry Valleys. These valleys have not seen rainfall in over two million years. With the exception of one valley, whose lakes are briefly filled with water by inland flowing rivers during the summer, the Dry Valleys contain no moisture (water, ice, or snow). The reason why the Dry Valleys exist are the 100 mph Katabatic down winds which evaporate all moisture. The freezing temperatures and the absence of water, plant life, and animal life simulate, to a degree, conditions on the Planet Mars. Consequently, the Dry Valleys are used as training grounds for astronauts who may one day make a voyage to our neighboring planet.

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