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Science and Technology – The largest “mirror” on Earth that can be seen even from space: what is it made of (photo)

Science and Technology – The largest “mirror” on Earth that can be seen even from space: what is it made of (photo)

Researchers talked about the largest salt flat in the world, which sometimes looks like a giant mirror.

In southwestern Bolivia, there is a giant “mirror of another world” formed from the remains of an ancient lake, thanks to which a salty crust appeared, which turns when it gets wet into a huge giant lake, he writes. IFL Science.

Researchers say the world's largest salt flat is transformed when nearby lakes cover its surface with a thin layer of water. This salt flat is called Salar de Uyuni and is completely flat and extends over an incredible 10,582 square kilometres.

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Researchers have discovered that the reflective surface of the salt marsh is so large that it actually looks like a giant mirror that can be easily seen even from space. In fact, this is not the only salt marsh of this size in this area – a second one is also located nearby – Salar de Coipasa. Interestingly, these “giant mirrors” were essentially created from something that can be found in every kitchen.

The Salar de Uyuni is a vast desert of gypsum and halite, i.e. common table salt. The salty surface of the Sahara is often covered with a strange honeycomb pattern that has long interested scientists: this pattern is geometrically perfect and consists of plates that vary in size from one to two meters.

A small amount of water turns salt marshes into huge mirrors that can be seen from space

Image: NASA

A team from Nottingham Trent University's School of Science and Technology has finally solved this mystery. According to the study's author, Dr. Lukas Herring, the first thing that catches the eye about salt flats is the huge number of hexagons and other organized shapes.

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He and his team discovered that there was a simple, plausible explanation, but it was hidden underground: the patterns on the surface reflected the slow circulation of salt water in the Earth.

It is known that the Salar de Uyuni salt marsh is located on the site of the large and ancient Lake Minchin that covered this plateau thousands of years ago. Data from NASA's Earth Observatory indicate that the lake shrank dramatically about 15,000 years ago, creating a salt pool that has been steadily shrinking. As a result, the water here completely evaporated, leaving only huge deposits of halite and salt.

Millions of tourists visit this place every year; People are attracted to the strange salty crust that is sometimes up to 10 meters thick. During a short period of rain, only a few centimeters of rain fall here, but this is enough to turn the salt marsh into a “giant mirror” that can be seen even from space.

previously to focus He wrote that mirrors in space would help increase clean energy production on Earth.