SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors View A Lot Of NaCl

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Senior friends, get your coffee and join me in Bolivia this morning.  We’re going to visit Salar de Uyuni, a pile of blissfully, beautiful salt, very famous and one of the most stunning scenes in the world. Made up of some 4,633 square miles of salt, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia is located in the southwestern region of Oruno and Potosi, near the top of the Andes, at an altitude of 3,650 meters.

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More than 40,000 years ago, the area was part of a giant prehistoric Lake Michin that dried up and left Lake Poopo, and Uru and two salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the Salar de Uyuni. The second is the larger of the two and 10,582 square km is about 25 times the size of Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats.

Seniors Discover Flamingo Breeding Grounds

Once a year, in November, Salar de Uyuni becomes  breeding grounds for three species of South American flamingos: the Chilean Flamingo, James’s and Andes. Flamingos chow down on microbes that are attracted by mineral deposits and the potassium salt crust of shallow lakes creating snow rings.

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The landscape is entirely flat, bar a few small ‘islands’ such as Isla Incahuasi, which only accentuates its surreal beauty. The Bolivian Altiplano (high plains) has many beautiful lakes, some fresh, some saline and very colorful, some dry.

The collection includes the largest salt flat in the world, Salar de Uyuni, that is dry for most of the year, but is covered by a this layer of water during the rainy season (usually November-March).

Know anything about lithium? It’s pretty important for electronics today. Salar de Uyuni holds half the world’s reserves of lithium and is used to create high energy density lithium batteries like those used by Tesla, the resources have not been exploited so far.

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 Seniors Find An Other-Worldly Experience

Given the remoteness of Salar de Uyuni, this is a very popular place, and not just with senior tourists. Miners working in the Salar produce a whopping 25,000 tons of salt each year and it is still a drop in the bucket compared with the overall reserves of 10 billion tons of salt offered by Uyuni.

What a neat place to visit? Exotic, yes. For the adventurous, yes. Bolivia, yes. Salar de Uyuni offers an other-worldly experience for seniors that has to be seen to be believed. When it rains at Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the landscape transforms into a giant and shallow reflection pool that is said to be the World’s Largest Mirror.

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Equally extraordinary is the salt flat’s ‘flatness’. Over the entire 10,582 square kilometers, there is only an average altitude variation of one meter. The area is covered in a several-meter thick salt crust which also covers a pool of lithium-rich brine.

Senior travelers who seek adventure and a new place to explore, here it is: Salar de Uyuni, breathtakingly beautiful, providing an extraordinary experience that will not be quickly forgotten. jeb

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