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It accumulates in an underground cave system and flows into the ...Abundant supplies of safe drinking water are among Switzerland’s most valuable natural resources, with groundwater accounting for 80% of the total.Scientists recently discovered remnants of freshwater plants and animals buried in the sediment of the desert's salt flats: the large stretches of dry, salty soil that pepper the Atacama Desert.Many of the flats span 600 to 1,000 square meters (6,400 to 10,400 square feet), though some are larger.The world's highest active volcano the 6,893m Volcan Ojos del Salado is just one towering hot-top around the geothermal wonderland of the Nevado de Tres Cruces National Park making Atacama Desert vacations an ideal interlude on a trip to Chile.Minerals create lakes with otherworldly hues, while hot springs bubble amid rugged plains and salt flats.

For example, if an arid region becomes wetter, the rates of chemical weathering may increase or flash floods may occur more frequently.

Drinking water is scarce in the Indonesian region of Gunung Kidul.

In this karst area, rainwater quickly drains away into the ground.

Radiocarbon analysis showed the freshwater lakes and wetlands existed in the desert between 9,000 and 25,000 years ago, according to the researchers.

Many archeologists believe South America's early settlers traveled from the west coast inland toward the Andean Mountains, avoiding the desert's dry center by walking along its wetter edges.

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