Thursday, 21 March 2013

World's Largest Salt Flat

At 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi), the Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. It is located in the Potosi and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, and is elevated 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above the mean sea level.

The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. It contains 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves, which is in the process of being extracted. 

The large area, clear skies and exceptional surface flatness make the Salar an ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of the Earth observation satellites. It also makes for one giant natural mirror after a rainstorm. It takes the perfect amount of rainfall to create such reflective beauty. Following are the incredible pictures collection which will give you a great sense of just how vast (and flat!) this surface is and how reflective it can get:-

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