Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is a place people don’t just visit. Rather, they inhale its vastness and colours with every fibre of their being. Salar de Uyuni is a place of superlatives – the world’s largest salt flat, world’s biggest reserve of lithium, the best place on Earth to callibrate satellites – in short: a visual miracle and mirror to the sky. Be warned, the following pictures will be unlike any you have ever seen!
Many a visitor, blinded by the reflecting sun and lost for words upon being immersed in this natural beauty, is said to have forgotten about their camera, simply gaping in awe…
… while others feel like jumping among the clouds:
Image: Lorena Fernandez Calvo
Standing on a giant mirror:
Image: Ezequiel Cabrera
Considering Salar de Uyuni’s remoteness, it is quite a popular place, and not only with tourists. Miners working in Salar produce a whopping 25,000 tons of salt every year; still a drop in the bucket compared to the overall reserves of 10 billion tons of salt that Salar de Uyuni has to offer.
Salt is harvested the traditional way in Salar de Uyuni: The salt is piled up into small mounds so that the water can evaporate, then it is dried over fire and finally enriched with iodine before it is brought elsewhere for packaging.
Salt mounds, reflected endlessly:
Image: Consuelo Poblete
Salar de Uyuni also holds half of the world’s reserves of lithium, used to make high-energy density lithium batteries, an untapped resource so far. Let’s just hope that once a mining plant is built, it won’t interfere too much with the magic of Salar de Uyuni.
As is not hard to imagine, Salar de Uyuni provides an excellent target surface for testing and calibration for satellites, or more specifically their remote sensing instruments. The clear skies, dry air, minimal elevation deviation, large, smooth surface and high surface reflectivity during the rainy season make Salar de Uyuni five times better geared for satellite calibration than the ocean’s surface.
Where the sky never ends - what could possibly top Salar at sunrise?
I'm gonna travel there one day. :)
It's a MUST.