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EL SALAR DEL UYUNI, THE WHITE GOLD ...

EL SALAR DEL UYUNI, THE WHITE GOLD ... (77 photos) Send this reportage Send this reportage
Salt mounds in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. The Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest (12 000 km²) and highest (3 700 m) salt flat, ca. 25 times as large as the Bonneville Salt Flats. It's the remnant of a prehistoric lake surrounded by mountains without drainage outlets. Salt is harvested in the traditional method: the salt is scraped into small mounds for water evaporation and easier transportation, dried over fire, and finally enriched with iodine.
© A. WP./TheReportage.com
Categories: Environment, Geography, Geology, Mountain, Sciences & nature, Trade, Tourism, Travel, Offbeat, News, Industry, Big Story
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Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world's largest salt flat at 12 000 km2 and hightest 3 700m square miles. It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, and is elevated 3,656 meters 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, but that lithium is not being extracted yet.

The large area, clear skies and exceptional surface flatness make the Salar ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of the Earth observation satellites. The Salar serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a major breeding ground for several species of pink flamingos.