The Dragon Hill of Iquique, Chile

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Cerro Dragon or The Dragon Hill is an enormous sand dune about 4 km long, located near the coast in the city of Iquique in Chile. Varying in height from 150 to 500 meters, it is the largest urban sand dune in the world; only the dunes of the Sahara are higher. The dune is situated on narrow rocky ledge above a cliff 500 feet high that forms a natural barrier to the sea. It is believed that the Dragon Hill was formed 20,000 years ago during the last ice age when the sea was out by a further 100 meters, exposing the shoreline to erosion and deposition by wind. Today, the dunes represents one of the most characteristic landscapes of Iquique, and is visible from throughout the city.

In 2005, Dragon Hill was designated a Nature Sanctuary with the intention of protecting the geological feature from human encroachment, especially by urban developers. Unfortunately, the designation has had little effect. The city dwellers are using the place to dump their garbage. The place is also frequented especially by paragliders and sand boarding lovers.


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