Tuesday, 25 March 2014


flatland

 the largest salt flatland in the world at 4,086 square miles (10,582 kilometers). Every year, this amazing wonderland in southwest Bolivia covers with a thin layer of water. When that happens, it turns into the largest mirror on the planet, as these photos recently taken by Takaki Watanabe show.
The resulting landscape is absolutely surreal, out of a Salvador Dalí painting. I want to go there—¡pronto!
The salar is formed by several preshistoric lakes, which started to transform 30,000 to 42,000 years ago. Covered by several feet of salt, the Salar de Uyuni stays dry most of the year except a few days, when it rains and turns into this wonder.
And while it looks like it must be hell on Earth, it's not hot at all: its temperatures range from a low 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13º C) to 70º F (21º F).
But the most surreal part is the fact that is a major breeding ground for pink flamingos. Can you imagine a flock of thousands of flamingos flying over this perfect mirror? I want to see that one day.

Southwest Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is not only the world’s largest salt flat - it's also the largest mirror on the planet! The incredible 6,575 square mile flat is home to many shallow lakes that reflect the gorgeous skies, clouds and animals of Bolivia. A walk across the miles of white salt looks more like a trek across the moon than a trip through South America.

Salar de Uyuni  is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi). It is located in thePotosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes and is at an elevation of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above 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 the exceptional flatness of the surface make the Salar an ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of 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 pinkflamingos. Salar de Uyuni is also a climatological transitional zone since the towering tropical cumulus congestus and cumulus incus clouds that form in the eastern part of the salt flat during the summer cannot permeate beyond its drier western edges, near the Chilean border and the Atacama Desert.

Prehistoric lakes once covered Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni near the crest of the Andes. When these lakes dried up over hundreds of thousands of years, their rich salt content was left behind, and it became the thick salt crust that coats the region today. The shallow pools of brine are also rich in lithium – they contain 50 to 70 percent of the earth’s reserves.

During the rainy season, most of the enormous salt flat is covered by shallow water, as rain has nowhere to drain.  These few inches of water have a dazzling effect on the landscape, transforming the plane into one endless mirror that reflects the sun, sky, clouds, visitors and the indigenous pink flamingos that heavily populate the area.

The region is 11,995 feet above sea level, making it an optimal spot to monitor and calibrate satellites. The incredible clouds often break to clear skies, with blue and white reflected below. Salar de Uyuni sees a lot of traffic ranging from from tourists to companies coming to mine the layers of salt, potassium, lithium and magnesium from the surface. It is also a major car transport route during the dry seasons.

Salar de Uyuni is a beautiful natural mirror, but also an important source from salt and lithium, which is a vital component in electric batteries.Salar de Uyuni « Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building


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