Salt flat

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Salt extraction in the Salar de Uyuni , Bolivia
Cono de Arita in the Salar de Arizaro, Salta ( Argentina )

Salt flat , geological technical term: Playa , is a deposit area of ​​dry salt lakes .

A salt flat is a sedimentation area of an intermittent body of water . It continues to form in the interior of endorheic basins in semi-arid areas, but unlike Sabchas it is surrounded by high areas.


Some authors include the inland Abkhazia in the term Playa , the term Sabcha is restricted to the coastal Sabchas. It doesn't matter whether it is surrounded by high areas or not.

Depending on their occurrence, salt plains have different names:

Hydrology and education

The finest material is washed in by periodic or episodic inflows, which remains as a salty clay when the water evaporates , so-called salt clay . The only small deposits in each case add up over time as evaporite to form thick layers of layers. If it is later covered with other sedimentary rocks, a salt dome can form.

During the rainy season, the salt plains are covered with shallow salt lakes. During the dry season, dry cracks form on the flat surfaces .

The salt flats of the earth

The largest salt flats on earth
Surname country Size
km 2
Salar de Uyuni Bolivia 10582
Great salt desert Utah, USA 10360
Makgadikgadi salt pans Botswana 8400
Chott el Djerid Tunisia 7700
Etosha pan Namibia 4760

Examples of salt flats are parts of the Etosha pan and the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Africa, for example the North African Schotts or the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia . In the United States , the Salt Flats in Utah or the Black Rock Desert in Nevada are well-known examples of salt flats. Its extensive, absolute evenness made it the venue for speed records .


  • Hans Füchtbauer (Ed.): Sediment Petrology. Volume 2: Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks. 4th, completely revised edition. Schweizerbart, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-510-65138-3 .
  • Andreas Schäfer: Clastic Sediments. Facies and sequence stratigraphy. Elsevier, Munich et al. 2005, ISBN 3-8274-1351-6 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Explanation of words in Spanish, Real Academia Española, Diccionario de la lengua Española
  2. Compilation according to the information from the corresponding Wikipedia articles.