The 12 Saltiest Places on Earth
The most saline places on Earth contain significant concentrations of salts (mostly sodium chloride) and other minerals and typically surpass the salinity of ocean water.
What place or places are considered the salties in the world? Let's find out if the places you are thinking coincide with the list below. Let’s travel the world over and discover the saltiest places.
1.) Don Juan Pond – Antarctica
Lakes found in Antarctica are said to be the saltiest in the world and Don Juan Pond is one of these lakes. It is a small and very shallow hypersaline lake located in Victoria Land. This lake is regarded as the “saltiest body of water on earth” with a salinity level of over 40%. It’s 18 times the ocean’s salinity and has greater salinity than the Dead Sea and Lake Assal. In fact, the lake has no ice cover and doesn’t freeze even in winter indicating a high degree of salinity. It is also called Lake Don Juan.
2.) Lake Vanda – Antarctica
Another very salty lake found in Antarctica is Lake Vanda. This 5 km long and 69 m deep lake is just 9 km away from Don Juan Pond. The deeper waters of the lake don’t mix with the shallower waters and no fish species live on this peculiar lake.
3.) Garabogazkol Aylagy – Turkmenistan
The Garabogazkol Aylagy is a very salty bay whose name means ‘mighty strait lagoon’ located in Turkmenistan. It has a salinity of about 35% while Caspian Sea has only 1.2%.
4.) Lake Assal – Djibouti
Outside the frozen Antarctica, one of the saltiest lake is Lake Assal, a crater lake located in Djibouti. The lake lies 155 m below sea level making it the lowest point on land in Africa and the second lowest land depression on Earth next to the Dead Sea. It has 34.8% salt concentration which is 1.1% higher than the Dead Sea.
5.) Dead Sea – Israel/Jordan
Dead is often incorrectly considered the most saline lake in the world. This lake, which is the lowest point on earth, has 33.7% level of salinity compared to Lake Assal’s 34.8%. Dead Sea, which is the most well-known and deepest (378 m) hypersaline lake in the world, is 8.6 times the salinity of ocean water. No animal lives on this 67 km long and 18 km wide lake located between Israel and Jordan. It is also called Sea of Salt or Salt Sea.
6.) Chot el Djerid – Tunisia
Chott el Djerid is a high saline area located in Tunisia considered as the largest salt pan of the Sahara with an area of more than 7,000 km². During summer, the lake is almost entirely dried up which makes it possible to be crossed by foot or by car. It has an extreme climate with annual rainfall of only 100 mm and temperatures reaching 50° C. This unusual lake was used as a filming location for the very popular Star Wars series.
7.) Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat is Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia with an area of 10,582 km². The area is an important source of salt and contains 2/3 of lithium reserves of the world. The surface is very flat and is elevated 3,656 meters above the mean sea level.
8.) Qarhan Lake – China
Qarhan Lake, which is located within Qaidam Basin in China, contains 60 billion tons of salt. The area also contains large mineral deposits, reserves of asbestos, natural gas and many metals. It also has the greatest reserves of lithium, potassium and magnesium.
9.) Great Salt Lake – USA
Great Salt Lake is a lake with very high saline level and is considered as the ‘Dead Sea of America’. This lake with an area of 4,400 km2, which is the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere, is located in Utah, USA.
10.) Salar de Atacama – Chile
The second largest salt flat in the world is the 3,000 km² Salar de Atacama of Chile. It is 100 km in length and is completely surrounded by mountains and has no drainage outlets. This salt flat contains 27% of the lithium reserves of the world.
11.) Bonneville Salt Flats – USA
The 412 km² Bonneville Salt Flats with a depth of 1.8 meters are located in Utah, USA. The area, which is extremely flat, is very hostile to plants. It is aligned nearly perfectly with the shape of the Earth and is known the world over for their use as the Bonneville Speedway for high-speed race cars.
12.) Mono Lake – USA
Mono Lake is a very salty lake located in Mono County in California, USA. Although the lake is very high in saline level, it has an unusually productive ecosystem. It is a critical nesting habitat for many species of birds.