FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A ‘Rare Desert Bloom’ In Chile?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 200 times allegedly shows a “rare desert bloom” in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Verdict: False

The image shows flowers blooming in Utah, not Chile.

Fact Check: 

The Atacama Desert is located between the Loa River and the Salado-Copiapó drainage basin in Chile, according to Britannica. The desert, considered one of the driest coastal deserts in the world, hosts very little vegetation, One Earth reported.

A post shared on Facebook claims the desert is not always barren. It includes an image that shows dozens of yellow and purple flowers blooming between cracks in the desert soil. “A rare desert bloom in the Atacama Desert in Chile,” reads the image’s caption. (RELATED: Does This Image Show The World’s Smallest Bird Species?)

Versions of the post circulated on Twitter, with one iteration being retweeted over 10,000 times and receiving over 60,000 likes. The tweet claims flowers bloom every five to seven years. This claim is correct, according to ABC News. During these desert blooms, thousands of flowers can grow in the desert, with the most recent bloom occurring in October 2021, the outlet reported.

The image included in the post, however, was not taken in Chile. A reverse image search revealed the photo was captured in July 2019 by Emily Dickey, a Utah-based photographer. The image was shared on her Fine Arts America profile and the art website Pixels with a caption that indicates it was taken in Utah.

“Wildflowers thriving in the parched Utah desert,” reads the image’s caption. A similar image, showing what appears to be the same flowers with a different backdrop, was taken by Dickey and uploaded to her Pixels page as well.

Check Your Fact reached out to Dickey and will update this article if a response is provided.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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