Every year, this South American salt flat turns into the world’s largest mirror.
Known as Salar de Uyuni, this 4,086 square mile expanse stretches across much of southwestern Bolivia, and is in the record books as the planet’s biggest salt flat.
The entire region is covered by a thick later of salt crust — up to 30 feet thick in some areas — and is extremely flat. In fact, there is only 3 feet in variation over the sprawling area.
Each summer, rains flood the field of salt resulting in one gigantic and breathtaking reflective mirror. Tourists and photographers alike flock to this spectacular locale.
This natural wonder is the result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes that once covered the majority of southwestern Bolivia.
Using carbon dating methods, scientists explain that 30,000 to 42,000 years ago, the area was part of a giant prehistoric lake called Lake Minchin. When the lake dried up, it was converted into a few smaller lakes and salt flats, one of which is Salar de Uyuni.
The flats aren’t just known for their salt; the brine beneath contains 50 to 70% of the planet’s lithium! This unusual spot is also a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos.
This place is going on our bucket list, stat.