Connect with us

The Atacama desert of Chile hides a massive hand protruding from the ground

The unexplained

The Atacama desert of Chile hides a massive hand protruding from the ground

It’s as if a giant was buried beneath the Atacama Desert, reaching for the sky asking for help.

It’s called the hand of the desert or ‘la mano del Desierto’, and it’s a massive statue found in the Atacama Desert of Chile, at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level.

Located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, some 75 kilometers south of the city of Antofagasta, there is a massive hand protruding from the ground.

Its existence has created confusion among many who traveled the Panamerican Highway, seeing a massive hand reaching from the sky, half buried under the thick layers of the Atacama Desert.

So, what’s up with the hand? Is there like a giant statue buried beneath it?

No, not really, although it would be pretty cool, right?

Anyway, the hand of the desert is a steel sculpture built with reinforced concrete and has a height of 11 m. It was inaugurated on March 28, 1992, and its construction was financed thanks to contributions from the  Corporación Pro Antofagasta, a local booster organization.

Its maintenance is carried out by the same corporation, who perform cleaning operations since the sculpture is a constant target of graffiti.

According to its author, Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal, each visitor to the Hand of the Desert can give their own interpretation of the meaning of this sculpture.

Some say it is the city saying goodbye to the traveler.

According to others, it represents the victims of injustice and torture during the military dictatorship of 1973-1990. May agree it was built to portray the vulnerability and helplessness, especially the miners of the city of Antofagasta, the remote center of Chile’s copper mining industry.

Check out a set of incredible images of the Hand of the desert here.

And if you want to visit the statue yourself, its located about 75km south of the town of Antofagasta marked 1309 on the Pan-American Highway.

Photo by Claudio Fernandez/Flickr

Photo by Stefa nin/Flickr

Panorama around Mano del Desierto. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit Shutterstock


Ivan is editor-in-chief at, he also writes for Universe Explorers.
You may have seen him appear on the Discovery and History Channel.

  • disqus_MZrkvD6tvk

    This story deserves a Hand!

  • Dick Tracy

    What is the sound of one hand clapping? This hand goes with the face on Mars.

  • Alleged-Comment

    Girlie hands at that too!

    • Savatage (Always Deplorable)

      If the girly hand is that big, think how large the breast would be and how big a hole would be needed to bury it…

Subscribe to Ancient Code

Enter your email address to subscribe to Ancient Code and receive notifications of new articles by email.

Join 14,199 other subscribers

Visit our Spanish website

Popular on AC

To Top