THE SALAR DE UYUNI
Today we want to tell you about one of the most fascinating areas of the planet, where natural elements come together and give rise to an inhospitable and inaccessible place, but also of enormous natural value: the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.
The Salar de Uyuni is a huge salt desert, more than 10000 km² wide (in order to get a reference for comparison, the surface of Wales is about 20000 km²), located on the southern Andes near the town of Uyuni, from which it takes its name, at an altitude of 3650 m above sea level. It is believed that this huge expanse of salt was formed tens of thousands of years ago following the draining of Lake Minchin and precipitation in solid form of the elements dissolved in its water.
It is an enormous area where the sky is almost always clear and the white of the salt is lost beyond the horizon and creates a strong sunlight reflection. The size of this place, the absence of obstacles, the purity of the atmosphere and the extraordinary regularity of the Salar surface make this area a place where time and space do not seem to exist. Other environmental features, certainly not less important, are a very strong day-night temperature range, precipitation almost absent, but especially the strong air and soil salinity. This place is particularly inhospitable to any form of life, even human settlements are at a safe distance because the brightness of the place and the dryness of the air, in the long term, tend to literally "cook" the skin.
There are few species that are able to adapt to this environment. The only animal that you may encounter in these surroundings is the flamingo, which, however, passes through here only during the breeding season. Slightly more numerous plant species among which extraordinary specimens of Cactaceae, perfectly integrated into the surrounding hills and taking advantage of brightness and drought of the place. This is primarily columnar specimens of Echinopsis atacamensis pasacana, Echinopsis tarijensis and Trichocereus pasacana, that we can admire in splendid pictures below. The tallest specimens have the reached adulthood and, because of their slow growth, are estimated to be nearly a century old.
We think that more than any other consideration about the beauty of the landscape, it is worth admiring it directly in this video; watch it quietly and for a moment you'll be there.
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