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Lake Poopó and Salt Flats in Bolivia – July 30th, 2010

18.7S 67W

July 30th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

Bolivia - April 16th, 2010

Bolivia - April 16th, 2010

The large white expanses in the center of this image are two salt flats in Bolivia: the Salar de Uyuni and the Salar de Coipasa. North of the former is the greenish Lake Poopó.

The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, with a surface area of 10,582 km2 (4,085 square miles). It is situated at an elevation of 3,656 meters above mean sea level.  The white color is due to a few meters of very flat and reflective salt crust.

The Salar de Coipasa is smaller, with a surface area of 2.218 km². It is located slightly higher than its neighbor, at an elevation of 3657 m. The rocks surrounding it are mostly of volcanic origin.

Moving northeastward one comes to Lake Poopó, a large yet shallow, highly saline lake in Bolivia’s Altiplano Mountains. Upon opening the full image, the northern part of the lake is dark blue and the central part contains brown sediments, while whitish salt flats can be seen by the southern shores. The southern reaches of the lake actually have a high salt gradient due to dilution from the freshwater Desaguadero River in the north.

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