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Saturday, May 14, 2011

World’s Largest Salt Flat--Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni also known as Salar de Tunupa is the world”s largest salt flat. It measures 10,582 square kilometers and is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes. It is 11,995 ft above the mean sea level.

The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. The area was part of a giant prehistoric lake called Lake Minchin some 30,000–42,000 years ago. 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 and is yet to be extracted.
 When covered with water, the Salar becomes one of the largest mirrors on Earth.

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