Salar de Uyuni, Nor Lípez Province, Potosí Department, Bolivia
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|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||20° 0' South , 67° 30' West|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-20, -67.5|
Largest salt flat in the world, over 10,000 square kilometers of hard salt (mostly halite), completely flat. A surface crust consists of several centimeters of compact massive white halite, which can be driven on by lorries and buses; under this is a cavernous porous layer which would hypothetically be the world's richest source of crystallized mineral specimens: several billion cabinet-size halite specimens! It is locally mined for halite (reserves more than 100 billion tons) and ulexite (representing about 6 million tons of boron), and it would also potentially be the world's largest lithium deposit: 9 million tons of Li contained in interstitial brines, especially around intermittent river mouths on the south shore of the flats. Other resources include 150 million tons of potassium and 100 million tons of magnesium.
(A relatively small area of the northern Salar de Uyuni extends into Oruro Department.)
The elevation of the salt surface is 3,650 meters (a bit over 12,000 feet), so the Salar constitutes the lowest point of the Altiplano, created when Pleistocene lake Minchin dried up between 40,000 and 20,000 years ago.
The copper minerals listed here are, of course, not from the evaporites but from volcanic rock in small "islands" sticking up out of the salt flats.
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6 valid minerals.
Localities in this Region
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