Salar de Uyuni, The Unique and Widest Prehistoric Salt Plain in The World

Each year, it is estimated that Salar de Uyuni contains 10 billion tons of salt, and less than about 25,000 tons of salt is obtained from the plains at the height of South America. - The world's largest salt plain called Salar de Tunupa or better known as Salar de Uyuni, is located in the Potosi and Oruro Departments, southeastern Bolivia, near the peaks of the Andes, South America, at an altitude of 3650 meters.

This unique plain formed in a long time. About 40,000 years ago, the lake was part of Lake Michin, a large lake in prehistoric times. When it dries up, there are 2 lakes left, namely Lake Poopó and Uru Uru, and 2 of the largest salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and Salar de Uyuni.

Several times a year the plains get rain falling to a thin layer of water covered. That's when Salar de Uyuni was transformed into the largest natural mirror on earth.

Its surface is perfectly flat and clear, in some places there are reflections of the sky and clouds above, producing an awesome view for anyone who watches it.

Each year, it is estimated that Salar de Uyuni contains 10 billion tons of salt, and less than about 25,000 tons of salt is obtained from the plains at the height of South America.

Every November, the Salar de Uyuni is home to three species of flamingos in South America: the chile, andes, and James flamingos and several other species of animals.

The widest salt plateau in the world, because of its uniqueness attracts many tourists from various countries. The following summarizes some of the uniqueness of the Salar de Uyuni.

1. The biggest salt producer in the world

Salar de Uyuni formed from this salt crust has a flat surface with a thickness of about one meter that covers the entire surface of the lake. Salar de Uyuni contains 10 billion tons of salt and every year around 25,000 tons of salt is produced from this plain.

2. Being in the highest level in Latin America

During this time we know the existence of salt is identical to the sea. However, that was not the case with Salar de Uyuni. The plain which has another name Salar de Tunupa is located at an altitude of thousands of meters above sea level or the equivalent of tens of thousands of feet. So, this salt plain is not on the sea's edge as we know it.

3. Formed from a prehistoric lake

This plain is formed from the transformation of a very large lake in 42,000 to 30,000 years ago, namely Lake Minchin. A number of studies report that in those days radiocarbons formed corals from sediments and carbonate coral reefs that surfaced to the earth's surface. Lake Minchin was transformed into several lakes and plains. The biggest is the Uyuni salt flats.

4. There is an island in the middle of the salt plateau

Isla Incahuasi or Incahuasi Island is the name of the island located in the middle of the Uyuni salt plain. The extent, around 24.62 hectares. Incahuasi is also a place to grow giant cactus.

5. Save lithium reserves

This salt crust is a source of salt-producing rich in lithium, about 50 to 70 percent of lithium reserves worldwide. Lithium is a major component in batteries that have vital functions for cellphones, laptops, and even electric cars. With an estimated nine million tons of lithium contained in the Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia has 43 percent of the world's lithium reserves.

6. Satellite observation sites on earth

Uyuni's wide, flat and very clear surface makes this plain an ideal object for an altimeter to measure Earth's satellites.

7. Habitat of unique species

Some species of flora and fauna become the main habitat of the inhabitants of Salar de Uyuni. Reportedly, there are more than 80 species of birds that live in Uyuni, such as the Andean goose, and Andean hillstar. There is also a typical Andean fox living on Incahuasi Island, one of the islands in Salar de Uyuni.

The best known are three species of South American flamingos, pink that live in Uyuni. The pink color is thought to originate from algae. All three are the Chilean, Andean and James flamingos.

8. Can be visited every season

Salar de Uyuni salt flats can actually be visited by tourists at every season. In the rainy season between December and April, visitors can see the Uyuni salt flats which reflect the sky. However, watch out, high rainfall in December and January can actually cancel your intention to visit the Uyuni salt flats.

In the dry season which occurs in May to November, the temperature there is even cooler. The advantage, the plain there is more hardened so that tourists can reach every inch of Uyuni salt plains and enjoy its charm. (*)
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