Salt Flat, Death Valley National Park
At the Badwater Basin view area there is an interpretive sign pointing out the Salt Flats. However what is shown in the photo is not what is at Badwater Basin. What is at Badwater Basin is what looks like a large slick river of frozen ice. But its not. It is salt, smooth and almost translucent as you can see in the second and third photos.
To see something different, again, the drive down West Side Road has "rivers" of crystallized salt flats as seen in the last two photos. They weave their way through that side of the Devil's Golf Course.
It appears the valley is still rich with borates minerals, which in turn the boron comes from. Borates are minerals containing boron, fifth element on Periodic Table, trace amounts exist in rock, soil, water, plants, and people. Boron-containing ores are among the rarest minerals in the world, and used in a variety of household and commercial products. How are borates used? 43% glass, 17% detergents, 12% ceramics & enamels, 5% plant fertilizers, and 23% other uses such as wood treatment, flame retardants, pest control, medicines, cosmetics, nuclear containments, circuit boards, and list can continue.
The salt flats remain as remnants from long dried up lakes that covered this portion of the Earth during another era. Salt and other minerals can be found in abundance on Death Valley terrain where scarsely anything can grow.
The Salt Flats are made up of dried salt crystals which create erratic geometic patterns on the desert floor. This photo was taken from the highway, from quite a distance - another great view is from Dante's View, where you can see the full vista.
A strong layer of three to five feet of salt covers the area of Badwater. Badwater is the part of Death Valley which lies 282 feet below sea level and is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. The salt lake looks fascinating. You can walk on some hiking trails across the crunching salt.
The salt is a leftover of a huge lake that covered most of Death Valley a couple of thousand years ago. The climate became warmer and the lake dried out. Only the salt remained.
The salt plains look great and add to desert atmosphere you have around here. We saw most of the salt in the Bad Water area.
It is at the bottom of a white salt and borax pan that I would wildly guess is at least thirty miles long and ten miles wide.