The Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat. To give perspective, it is about 25 times larger than the Bonneville Salt Flats. In the early part of the year it becomes flooded and the water provides a mirror effect, so I guess the world's largest mirror. The lack of other features allows photographers to play with perspective. When we arrived, some areas on the edges were flooded but most of the salar was dry, allowing us to safely drive over most of it.
Instead of going to the busy town of Uyuni, we went to a small village on the north of the salar named Jirira. The salt next to land can be dangerous, soft and crumbly, which can be seen in the above photo. Thus there are roads that are made for safe travel to and from villages or other land features.
Back to the Salar...
Looking through the side of a wrecked car that got blown onto the salt flats.
Patterns in the salt and water.
There is an island out in the salt flat called Isla del Pescado (Island of the Fish). It gets it name on it's shape. It is actually an isolated mound of petrified coral. On this island are these hugh cacti which remind me of the saguaros in Arizona. This island does collect a lot of tourists who drive out from the town of Uyuni. So we just drove our car a little away from the tourist center to gather some photographs.
Of course, salt mining is done here at the Salar. The Aymara have obtained their table salt from here. In addition, the brine contains lithium which was deposited by ancient volcanic activity. Actually 50 to 70% of the world's lithium is found here. This is starting to bring big industry to the Salar. I'm not sure how large scale lithium mining will affect the environment here. Usually in countries with an impoverished population, the monetary needs of the people usually outweigh the needs of the environment and potentially destroy the natural ecosystem in the process.
Something must be interesting.....Mauro, Sergio and Chavi photographing a great view.
Forced Perspective: One fun thing to do in the Salar is to take photos that change your perspective because of the seemingly endless landscape. Here are a couple that Sergio took of us having fun in the salt flats.
Gosh, what are we doing now?
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