If you’ve ever done an evaporation experiment in elementary school where you left salt water alone for a bit, you might recall studying an irregular blob of salty crystals left on a jar lid or a piece of string. And I bet that all of your classmates’ crystals looked slightly different than yours, but just as cool. When saltwater evaporates, it often leaves behind curious-looking formations of salt, and over time, these can build up to look pretty neat. Around the world, there are natural salt statues rising out of salty seas, carved figurines in the walls of old salt mines, and vast expanses of hard-packed deserts of salt instead of sand. Below you can learn about how these things form and take a peak at some of the most intriguing and most beautiful (in my opinion) geological formations of salt in the world, from all natural to man manipulated.
Salt Flats are left after ancient seas evaporated and left behind vast expanses of salt. Salt flats are also considered salt deserts, and nearly every continent has one.
- Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia, is the largest salt flat in the world (and salt lake–water can still be found on it). It is also a source of half of the world’s Lithium and a popular destination for tourists to visit.
- The Bonneville Salt Flats and Salt Lake Desert in Utah and the Badwater Basin in Death Valley are also among the largest of the world’s salt flats.
Salt domes and salt deposits underground are mined. Large mines, once mostly emptied out, can become huge salt caverns that may be used for storage spaces, or even tourist destinations. Some salt wonders are naturally made, but others are man-made. All the same, salt can create some awesome-looking things underground, too.
Formations in salty waters are created as the briny water evaporates. Salt is left over and builds up over time, because of a process that is often referred to as the “Barrier Theory”. The Dead Sea has quite a few fascinating salt formations because of its high salinity.
Keep up with more salt posts in my first attempt at a blog series!
COMING SOON – salt in religion