I am interested to know if there is any place on Earth that is permanently a desert (except Antarctica). By permanent I do not mean to be the physical meaning of forever. It means the place has to be at least staying million of years as a desert and had survived at least one major climate change period. Precipitation is probably the most important factor to determine if a place would be a desert.

So, the question could be focused on a particular location which receive little precipitation despite how the overall global climate has changed (of course I still welcome discussion outside of the precipitation pattern).

  • $\begingroup$ Antarctica is sometimes considered a desert: livescience.com/21677-antarctica-facts.html Also, probably the Atacama, being between two mountain ranges, I don't imagine it gets much rain no matter what the ice-age situation. High mountains on either side keep it very dry. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atacama_Desert But I'll let someone with more expertise answer with more certainty. Those are just 2 that come to mind. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ Thx for the info! $\endgroup$
    – y chung
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


UserLTK, above, has mentioned the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the Atacama desert as two notable examples of "permanent" deserts. It's likely that these two locations have been deserts for at lease several millions of years despite changes in global weather patterns from multiple glacial events. The Atacama is well shielded by a very old mountain range to the west, and the Dry Valleys are also well protected by both an inland location and by global ocean currents that isolate the continent from much of the world's weather.

  • $\begingroup$ Not just the Dry Valleys: practically the whole of Antarctica is desert. $\endgroup$
    – Pont
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Hi thx for ur answer. I understand that Antarctica could be considered as a desert but I really would like to know places other than Antarctica and the explanation of why it is a permanent desert. Sorry for my imprecise question initially. $\endgroup$
    – y chung
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @ychung the Atacama is in Peru. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 16:38

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