Too much table salt is bad for your health, but what about this kind of salt? The salt flats of Bolivia are one of the world’s most significant salt deposits. As you can see from these mounds of salt, that’s not an amount to sneeze at.
The locals harvest the salt from the flats, package it and sell it, mostly in Bolivia. The most valuable resource isn’t the salt at all, but what it covers- the lithium. Approximately 50-70% of the world’s lithium deposits are under the salt. In some places the salt deposits are several meters deep, making it safe to drive across.
So how did it all get there? Actually the salt flats are very high in elevation and in prehistoric times the entire area was a lake. Eventually the lake dried, leaving to smaller lakes and the incredible salt flats. The lithium underneath the dried salt is actually a lake of brine, as deep as 20 meters in some parts. Although some mining companies have explored the region, the Bolivian government has refused to authorized any foreign mining and plans to build an extraction plant of “modest” production by 2012.
To see more of our favorite photos from around the world check out our travel photo page. Let us know your favorites and we’ll include them in our photo of the day series.Bolivia is home to many natural wonders. From the salt flats to the altiplano to the jungles, there’s a lot of interesting stuff to see. Check out our Bolivia guide for ideas, maybe you’ll even catch late holiday deals!