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Lakes Titicaca and Poopó Near Salar de Uyuni, South America

15.7S 69.3W

September 5th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

Peru, Bolivia, Chile - August 12th, 2011

The large, dark blue body of water in the upper part of this image of South America is Lake Titicaca, shared by Peru and Bolivia.

To the southeast of the lake is an expansive white area of salt flats in Bolivia, near the border with Chile: the  Salar de Uyuni. Just north of the salt flats is the greenish Lake Poopó, a large yet shallow lake in Bolivia’s Altiplano Mountains.


Salar de Uyuni to the Andes Mountains, Bolivia – February 9th, 2011

20.1S 67.5W

February 9th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Mountains, Salt Flats

Bolivia - January 15th, 2011

Salar de Uyuni covers 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi) of terrain in the Bolivian departments of Potosí and Oruro, making it the world’s largest salt flat. It is located at an elevation of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above mean sea level, near the crest of the Andes.

Here, the ridges of the Andes Mountains can be seen to the east. The terrain appears dry on the western side, yet green and fertile on the eastern side. In the full image, part of Paraguay can be observed east of the salar and the mountains, while part of Argentina is visible to the southeast, and part of Chile south of the salar.

Salar de Uyuni and Salar de Coipasa, Bolivia and Chile

20.1S 67.5W

January 30th, 2010 Category: Mountains

Bolivia - January 5th, 2010

Bolivia - January 5th, 2010

While clouds dot the skies over and around the Andes Mountains and above the Pacific Ocean, the white areas in the center of this image focusing on Bolivia and Chile are two large salt flats: the Salar de Uyuni and the Salar de Coipasa.

The former, also known as the Salar de Tunupa, is the largest salt flat in the world, with a surface area of 10,582 km2 (4,085 square miles). Located near the crest of the Andes, it has an elevation of 3,656 meters above the mean sea level. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar.

Just northwest of the Salar de Uyuni is the smaller Salar de Coipasa, at an elevation of 3657 m. It is about 70 km long by 50 km wide and has a surface area of 2.218 km², of which 2.193 are located in Bolivia, making it the second largest salar in the country. The rocks surrounding the salar are mainly of volcanic origin.

Lake Poopó and Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia – June 13th, 2009

18.7S 67W

June 13th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Bolivia - June 9th, 2009

Bolivia - June 9th, 2009

Clouds hug the coast of Chile (bottom) and Peru (left), as well as the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains.

The rest of the image is cloud free, permitting a clear view of the arid terrain in Peru (left), Bolivia (center) and Chile (bottom), and the lush rainforest of Brazil (top).

The extensive white patch is the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia, the world’s largest salt flat.

Above it, in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains, is Lake Poopó. This large saline lake, which has been designated as a site for conservation under the Ramsar Convention, is located at an altitude of approximately 3,700 meters.

The lake is about 90 km by 32 km wide, and the permanent part of the lake body covers approximately 1,000 km².

Lake Poopó  receives most of its water from the Desaguadero River, which links it with  Lake Titicaca (upper left quadrant) at the north end of the Altiplano.

Since the lake lacks any major outlet and has a mean depth of no more than 3 m, the surface area varies greatly. Here, some of its waters are greenish in color, while parts of its shores are flanked by white salt flats.

The World’s Largest Salt Flat: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

April 29th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - April 13th, 2009

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - April 13th, 2009



The Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 km² (4,085 square miles).

It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, at an altitude of 3,650 meters. As it is so flat it serves as a major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano.

The countries of Chile (lower left), Peru (upper left) and Brazil (upper right) are also visible around Bolivia in the main image.

The Salar de Uyuni is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt, of which less than 25,000 tons is extracted annually. The major minerals found in the salar are halite and gypsum.

Also, the Salar de Uyuni holds half of the world’s reserves of lithium, a metal which is used in high energy density batteries.