DISCLAIMER: This article is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at last review, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information.
Hyperaridity and the dry limits of life
Wikle, Thomas A. Department of Geography, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
- The Atacama and hyperaridity
- Life in the Atacama
- The Atacama as Mars analog
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Hyperaridity refers to extreme dryness. Locations on the Earth's surface that experience hyperaridity have high rates of evaporation and plant transpiration and extremely low annual precipitation. On a global scale, hyperarid landscapes cover about 7.5% of the planet's land surface. Life forms on Earth are remarkably adaptable. Living organisms have been found in Siberian permafrost, hypersaline conditions in Antarctica, and deep hydrothermal ocean vents with temperatures up to 122°C. Organisms are also capable of survival in environments dominated by highly toxic elements and compounds, including arsenic, carbon monoxide, mercury, and cyanide. Because all life requires water, scientists have focused much attention on the survival of organisms in hyperarid conditions with the hope of discovering the dry limits of life. This article explores hyperaridity and the dry limits of life in South America's Atacama Desert, considered by geologists to be Earth's oldest desert and the most arid place outside of Antarctica's Dry Valleys. See also: Antarctica; Desert; South America
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information