Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest thick crust of salt flat located in the Daniel Campos Province in Potosí in southwest Bolivia, South America.
It is a 10,582 square kilometer area at the southern end of the Altiplano, transformed from a dry prehistoric lake, evaporated by salt rising from the ground.
The hexagonal formation on the surface is a salt crust from crystallization within one meter in every area. The flat is covered with brine, 50-70% lithium, the element that is used for electric vehicles and batteries.
The beauty can be considered it extends to the horizon with clear skies at nearly 12,000 feet above the sea.
Besides rich of potential resources and beautiful landscape, Salar de Uyuni has another uniqueness.
There are climates that impact nature by giving another phenomenon and animals living nearby.
The Climates and Wildlife in Salar de Uyuni
Another phenomenon in Salar de Uyuni is called “invierno del altiplano”, which means winter on the high plateau. It is known as the world’s largest mirror reflection.
The salt flat will be covered by water, reflecting the sunlight and creating wonderful optical effects on the landscape.
The water reflections can be seen between December and April, when it’s the rainy season in Bolivia.
With the landscape majority covered with salt, this area has also become a climatological transitional zone. There is a tropical cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus incus clouds with an average temperature of 21 °C (70 °F) – 13 °C (55 °F).
The cozy weather also invites the wildlife to live or just wander around. There are Chilean flamingos that eat local brine shrimps and breed in this area, bird, Andean goose, fox, viscacha, and more.
The Transformation of Prehistoric Lake To Salt Flat
From 30,000 to 42,000 years ago, Salar de Uyuni was a part of a giant prehistoric lake named Lake Minchin.
The center of this area contains a few islands, fragile coral-like structures from ancient volcanoes, fossils, and algae.
From 11,500 to 13,400 years ago, the giant prehistoric lake was transformed into the youngest one, named Coipasa.
It is divided into two major lakes and two major salt desserts, Salar de Uyuni and Salar de Coipasa.
This area has the original meaning of 3 words: ‘Salar’ in Spanish means salt flat, ‘Uyuni’ from Aymara language means a pen (enclosure).
The words are mixed up with meanings such as salt flat with enclosure or referring to an ‘island’ of the salt.