Salar de Uyuni Facts
- Most notably, the term of Salar de Uyuni serves as the name for a truly mind-blowing location. In point of fact, this marvel of Nature easily ranks as the largest known salt flat on earth. But that isn’t all, since it also formed in an unbelievably remote and difficult to reach location.
- Furthermore, the entire astounding location remains exceedingly smooth and flat throughout the entirety of the enormous expanse. Because of this, an incredible fact holds true. The site is often actually used as a means of calibrating the altimeters aboard various satellites.
- In addition, a highly remarkable, and almost unbelievable, transformation occurs after a period of rain. This results in the deposition of an extremely thin and nearly perfectly calm layer of water. That transforms the site into what serves as the largest mirror on earth.
- Finally, in addition to the admittedly vast salt reserves to be found there, this wonder also holds another valuable resource. That’s because Salar de Uyuni holds roughly 40% of the known reserves of lithium in the entire world. This makes the desolate site of immense value.
Salar de Uyuni Physical Description
Firstly, the sheer size of the astonishing feature known as Salar de Uyuni must be put into perspective. Secondly, that’s because of the simple fact that it’s huge. Further, the incredible site covers an astounding area of roughly 4,086 sq mi (10,582 sq km). In comparison, that’s larger than 37 of the countries in the world.
Yet, as impressive as that statistic is, it hardly serves as the only wondrous thing about the breathtaking site. First of all, the layer of salt actually has an average depth of more than an incredible 6 ft (2 m). In addition, this layer of salt remains so smooth that the surface height does not vary by more than 3 ft (1 m) in any place.
Finally, the already vast mineralogical wealth of Salar de Uyuni does not end at just its quantities of salt and lithium. Because of its unique nature, this site also contains large quantities of other important minerals. These valuable resources include such elements as potassium, magnesium, and even borax.
Salar de Uyuni Location, Formation, and Geology
In addition to its other fascinating qualities, the visually staggering Salar de Uyuni also boasts an astonishing location. That holds true due to the fact that it formed in a quite rugged and remote location. That’s because the fabulous wonder of Nature formed in one of the highest sections of the Andes Mountains.
Furthermore, this wonder of geology sits within the boundaries of the country of Brazil, in South America. In addition, it also sits at the impressive altitude of 11,995 ft (3,656 m) above sea level. Additionally, it formed during the uplift of the mountains, as several ancient lakes were transformed.
Furthermore, scientists currently estimate that this process of formation began somewhere between approximately 30,000 – 42,000 years ago. Between that time and roughly 11,500 years ago, several other lakes also formed. However, these features eventually evaporated, leading to the current situation.
Finally, and also quite amazingly, the central area of Salar de Uyuni holds yet another surprise for those who first learn of it. That’s the incredible fact that, in some areas, several small islands actually appear. Further, these actually represent the tops of truly ancient volcanoes, and also a wonderful source of numerous fossils.