Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world covering an area of 4,086 miles. It is located in the Potosi and Oruro departments of southwest Bolivia. It features vast expanses of glistening white salt. Approximately 11 billion tons of salt is believed to be within this salt desert.
These salt flats account for 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. It is at an elevation of 3,656 meters above the average sea level. There is limited vegetation and wildlife in the region but it has 80 visiting and migrating bird species.
Quick Facts: –
- During the rainy season, these flats become a lake. The light gets perfectly reflected so it becomes the largest natural mirror in the world.
- In Spanish, Salar de Uyuni is also referred to as ‘Salar de Tunupa’ means ‘salt flat enclosure’.
- NASA uses these salt flats to figure out the positioning of the satellites because it can be easily spotted.
- The salt crust of these flats can range from a few centimeters to 10 meters in thickness.
- This crust serves as a source of salt and also covers a pool of brine.
- This salt desert has a train cemetery, where trains were used in mining industries until 1940.
- Salar de Uyuni was formed when Lago Minchin dried up. It was a prehistoric lake that once covered the majority of southwest Bolivia.
- Earlier it was believed that this region is completely flat but some small undulations were discovered later.