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Massive Thunderstorm in the Atacama Desert - nature landscape painting -

Massive Thunderstorm in the Atacama Desert

Artist: George Vlad
Atacama, Chile

Thunderstorms are rare in the Atacama desert – decades can go by without rain.

When they do happen however, these freak weather occurrences are massive and awe-inspiring. As the mega storms emerge over the top of the Andes mountains and dormant volcanoes, lightning strikes indiscriminately and thunder rumbles over long distances. Cold wind batters everything from the mountain slopes to the rocky deserts and salt flats below. Piercing rain and hail falls indiscriminately, often flooding large areas of the desert.

One such event occurred while I was in the Atacama last week. I was there to capture the subtle and fleeting sound of soft wind in the desert. There was certainly plenty of that in the mornings, but by afternoon time the weather would change dramatically. The localised but incredibly intense storms can wreak havoc in seconds. Being in such gigantic landscapes in the middle of these storms made me realise how insignificant we are compared to nature and weather.

While I tend to take some risks in my quest to capture rare soundscapes, I also have a healthy respect for nature. The only way I could record this storm was with a drop rig.Luckily I had a Zoom F3 which records at 32 bit, thus giving me a lot of headroom to capture loud events such as thunder without compromising on detail. This recording has plenty of both, but you will need to listen with good speakers or headphones to experience it properly.

Recorded in the place where the Atacama desert meets the Andes in Chile. is a completely free streaming service of 800+ nature sounds from around the world, offering natural soundscapes and guided meditations for people who wish to listen to nature, relax, and become more connected.

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