Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest mirror

Our world is a pretty fascinating place, and quite by accident, I have had the good fortune to come across a few of them. One was El Caminito de Ray, a walkway pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in the district of Malaga, Spain (here:http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-scariest-path-in-world.html#sthash.uxS4toS5.dpuf ) and the pictures and video will literally leave you gasping for breath. The second was The Fairytale Tunnel of Love in the Ukraine (here: http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-ukraines-tunnel-of-love.html#sthash.QXv3ezts.dpuf ) which will leave you dreaming of your Prince Charming or Cinderella.

My apologies on the links. Since linking my blog to Google I haven't been able to figure out how to do links (with just a title). If anyone out there wants to offer suggestions, please do. I would be thankful.

The latest fascinating place I've come across is Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. It is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. Look at the first picture below and locate Bolivia and then at the second to see what it looks like from space. I was totally fascinated. 

Location of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Location of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Salar de Uyuni viewed from space, with Salar d...
Salar de Uyuni viewed from space, with Salar de Coipasa in the top left corner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Salar de Uyuni is located in the Oruro and Potosi departments in southwest Bolivia. It has an elevation of 3,656 meters above what is called 'mean sea level' and is near the crest of the Andes. I guess I will have to be satisfied with looking at photos. I have been known to get airsick so I will not be visiting during my lifetime. It is so beautiful.

When the prehistoric lakes that once covered Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni dried up over hundreds of thousands of years, a rich salt content was left behind. Over time it has become the thick salt crust that coats the region today. The shallow pools of brine are also quite rich in lithium, a vital component in electric batteries. An interesting fact: They contain 50 - 70 percent of the earth's reserves - in this one place! 

During Bolivia's rainy season, most of this salt flat is covered with water because the water has no where to drain. The sitting water transforms the plane into an endless mirror that reflects the sky, sun, clouds, people, and the indigenous pink flamingos that heavily populate the area. These magnificent pictures show the dazzling transformation of the landscape from salt to mirror when a few of inches of water accumulate. 

The region, at 11,995 above sea level, makes it an optimal spot for monitoring and calibrating satellites. Salar de Uyuni receives a lot of traffic ranging from tourists to the area to the companies that come to mine the layers of salt, potassium, lithium, and magnesium from its surface. During its dry season, it also caters as a major car transport route.

Have you visited Salar de Uyuni? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! 

Photos borrowed from: 





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