Salar de Atacama, in Chile. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Francesco Mocellin.

*Click on image for full-sized view.

Salar de Atacama, or the Atacama Dry Lake, is a dry lake or salt flat located in between two portions of the Andes mountain range 55 km (34 mi) south of San Pedro de Atacama, in northeastern Chile. There are many volcanoes in this region, including the picturesque Licancabur volcano, which can be seen in the background of the above photo.

A dry lake is a kind of flat which has no outlet, so it gets full with rain and runoff of water from higher elevations, but loses water through evaporation. Since the Salar de Atacama’s basin is primarily salt, it is referred to as a salt flat.

The Salar de Atacama is the world’s largest active source of lithium, containing about a quarter of the world’s lithium base.

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