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Clear evidence for dramatic orbital-scale climate change includes the large ice sheets that covered the northern portions of North America and Europe just 20,000 years ago.Climate, however, can also change on much shorter time scales, over decades, centuries, or millennia, for a wide variety of reasons.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.Although most geomorphic systems will respond to changes in climate, it can be difficult sometimes to predict how a specific system, or parts of a system, will respond.This is important to better understand and predict how geomorphic processes and associated systems will respond to future climate change.It accumulates in an underground cave system and flows into the ...

The arid Atacama Desert, thought to be a barrier to early South American settlers, may have held lakes large enough to sustain small human populations, according to new research presented here today.As you would expect, the rate and nature of geomorphic processes also respond to climate change.For example, if an arid region becomes wetter, the rates of chemical weathering may increase or flash floods may occur more frequently.Precipitation is reconstructed from rodent middens (Latorre et al., 2002; 2006).Periods of stream aggradation and incision are derived from radiocarbon dating of fluvial terraces and mapping of fluvial stratigraphy. Earth's climate can change gradually over millions of years (tectonic-scale) due to changes in greenhouse gases or the slow movement of tectonic plates, or climate can change periodically over tens of thousands of years as a result of slight changes in earth's orbit (orbital-scale climate change).

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