Back in the times of the Roman Empire, people where paid in salt – this is the origin of the word “salary”. If someone calls you “salt of the earth” or “being worth your salt”, it’s always a compliment. Some important facts about salt:
- Salt is required for blood, sweat, digestive juices and efficient nerve transmission.
- Since the 20th century, salt producers have been adding iodine to table salt. This has protected pregnant mothers and children from iodine deficiency diseases, the world’s leading cause of mental retardation.
- The highest usage of salt is for keeping highway winter time safety.
- Salt is a natural food ingredient with no calories.
Information from the Salt Institute.
There are beautiful underground salt mines around the world. Here, we are going to focus on salinas, salt deserts and salt lakes which compose amazing landscapes.
Salar de Uyuni
With more than 10,000 square kilometers this is the world’s largest salt flat. The salar is located in southwest Bolivia. The salt crust can be over 10 meters thick in the center and when it rains, the salar becomes a wonderful mirror.
Boneville salt flats
Over 46 square kilometers of salt flats located in Utah, USA. The total salt crust has been estimated at 147 million tons. The Boneville salt flats are made of 90% table salt. The Boneville salt flats are used as a race track each summer where professional and amateur teams from different countries compete for land speed records.
Great Salt Desert or Dasht-e Kavir
Located in the middle of the Iranian plateau, it covers more than 77,000 square kilometers. This desert recorded the year’s highest surface temperature reaching 70ºC in 2004 and 2005.
Dasht-e Kavir, Iran. Panorama made by Ramin Dehdashti
Salinas Grandes de Jujuy
The dramatic difference in altitudes, ranging from 1,000 meters to 5,000 meter peaks, combined with the stark differences in climate and temperature, helped to produce the Salinas Grandes desert.
Salinas Grandes of Jujuy, Argentina. Panorama made by Arroz Marisco
It is the fourth largest salt lake in Australia. Every March, when the lake is dry, the Dry Lake Racers event is held. The lake is over 60 km long and 40 km wide and the salt crust is over 1.2 meters in some places. Although in summer it can be extremely hot, during the spring time it is an attraction for bird-watchers and botanists.
Lake Gairdner surface, Australia. Panorama made by Klaus Mayer