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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Yardangs & Salt Flats

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, June 30, 2014/Categories: natural history, photography, environment

 East of the Atacama Desert and the Andes Mountains are huge lake beds from when the region was covered in water. It is a strange salt landscape with a blazing sun and desiccating winds. Inhospitable might best describe the  Salar de Arizaro in South America.

The six hundred square mile salt flat was formed when an inland sea evaporated 5-10 million years ago leaving thick mineral deposits that are mined today.

Salar de Arizaro, Argentina (credit: Wiki-commons)

In the upper left-hand of the satellite image are  yardangs , dusty hills formed when soft rocks are eroded by winds. They are aligned precisely with the prevailing wind direction. Yardangs are also found in Martian deserts as planetary winds whip around the planet regularly.

Salar de Arizaro Salt Flats and Yardangs  (credit: Earth Observing Satellite/NASA)

It would have been amazing to see what the landscape looked when it was still a sea.


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