Calama, Chile - Polarsteps

Calama, Chile: population: about 195,000. That population number includes several mining communities and other villages out in the desert in this general area. Calama's main source of economic support is copper mining. There is one very large open pit mine that has been in operation for more than 100 years. It is in the process of changing to underground mining. Calama is located pretty much in the center of the Atacama desert and midway between the mountains and the ocean. This has given it an important location and so has been populated as far back as 9000 years ago. During the early 1800s, Chile, Peru, and Bolivia had many disputes and clashes over the border of the countries and Calama was sometimes it was occupied by the armies of the Chileans due to its location. Calama is supported by at least eight working mines and multiple others in the prospecting stages. There are 15 copper-producing communities in Chile and Calama produces about 22 percent of the total production. So, my impressions: Calama is a desert town, in the Atacama desert. The parks are grey, the open spaces (green space) are grey, it's all grey. Its streets are littered, and there's nothing really pretty here because it's all brown or grey, the only green comes from the plants that people have planted here, none of which is native to the desert because the Atacama has no native plant life. Although, I was surprised to see two rivers, small but actual water running in them. I didn't expect that, after all, everything I've heard or read about the Atacama is that it is the dryest place on earth, which is true, but it still has a few rivers. It just doesn't get any rain. The river originates in the Andes Mtns a little to the east of town.
  1. ChipW
  2. My South America Journey
  3. Calama