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Humberstone, Chile

Nitrate crisis – Crumbling buildings – Magnificent ruins.
(Map this!)

I have found ghost towns fascinating but until now I have never had the opportunity to visit one. The closest I ever got was old abandoned warehouses, which are species of mini ghost town unto themselves. The northern part of Chile has quite a distribution of ghost towns, mostly related to the nitrate industry that operated in the Atacama desert from the latter part of the 19th century to the early part of the 20th. The development of the Haber process in the 1910’s provided for a more economical way to make fertilizer and the nitrate industry went into decline and eventual extinction.

Humberstone, Ghost Town

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Today in the desert one can find crumbling buildings, rusty heavy machinery, and decrepit power plants and ovens. What once was so vital to Chile that it fought two wars with its neighbors Peru and Bolivia lays strewn across the sands of the Atacama. Eventually the same will happen to the artifacts of our current civilization and some future humans will have the pleasure of rooting through our ghost towns. I hope we leave behind magnificent ruins…

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