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Salty Attractions  within, without
Travel

Salty Attractions within, without

Nature has a peculiar way of transforming landscapes. When it is combined with salt, rare formations are often created as outcome. Iran is rich in salt and desert, and so travelers will have no problems in finding ample salty attractions!

 Salty Iran:

Chehrabad Cave

The pre-historic salt mine of Chehrabd, 35 km west of Zanjan offers great insight into Achaemenid and Sassanid salt mining.

The salt in the cave preserved the remains of six salt mummies. Their clothes and tools reveal a good deal about the ancient ways and traditions.

Mining activities have ceased since 2008, and the cave serves only as a touristic attraction and a salt treatment center.

Qeshm Namakdan ‘saltshaker’ Cave

The longest salt cave is located within mount Namakdan in Qeshm Island.

It is among the rare salt caves that still exist. The salt gets into the cave through cracks. It stays dry for quite a long period of time before being eroded by flash floods. The caves are therefore dangerous during rainy seasons.

Qom Salt Lake

The salt lake located 100 km east of Qom and in fact forms a small part of a salt desert covering an area of about one sq km.

The lake gathers water in the winter, whereas in summer, a crust of salt is the captivating remains.

The thermal difference between day and night reaches about 70°, crumbling the rocks of the surrounding elevation into mounds of sand.

Lake Urumia

Twenty years ago, the lake in northwestern Iran ranked as the sixth largest salt lake in the world, and the largest in the Middle East.

A shadow of its former self, the lake showcases rusted boats abandoned in what is now a giant salt flat.

There are sites elsewhere in the world worthy of mention here. The website whenonearth.net has shared some interesting information about such salt-related places.

 Other Salty Places:

Devil’s Golf Course

The salt pan is on the floor of Death Valley National Park, eastern California.

It obtained its name jokingly from its frequent change in formation. It was created several years ago after the water evaporated from it, leaving behind a wide salt pan.

The ground is not suitable for any kind of golfing and it is normally said that, “only devils can play golf there”.

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

The Salt Cathedral is an underground Roman Catholic Church in a halite mountain near the town of Zipaquira in Cundinamarca, Colombia.

It is carved from an active salt quarry in 1950 and was shut down by the authorities after its stability was questioned but was reconstructed in 1991.

The current cave is about 75m long and 25m high, and has a capacity of 10,000 people. Several other caves have been dug around the main curve. The small caves symbolize the life of Christ; from birth to death.

Salar de Uyuni

The salt flat is located in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes.

At 10,582 sq km, it is the world’s largest salt flat. It is characterized by freezing temperatures at night and hot desert conditions during the day.

The salt desert turns into a large salt lake during wet seasons with a hotel made of natural salt located at its centre. It is also surrounded by great sceneries including Laguna Verde and Laguna Colorado.

Kitum Cave

The cave is in Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya.

It was created when the Egyptians tried searching for diamonds and gold on the volcanic mountain.

Several animals have frequently visited the cave during the night to lick the sodium rich salt. Elephants dug it further over time, using their tusks to break off piece of the cave. This leaves the walls scratched and furrowed.

Bushbucks, buffalos and hyenas come to Kitum Cave to consume salt leftovers after the elephants.

There is a deep crevasse into which young elephants have fallen and died.

Spiral Jetty

Robert Smithson’s earthwork Spiral Jetty is located at Rozel Point peninsula on the northeastern shore of Great Salt Lake, USA.

It was built in 1970 by Robert Smithson during the drought season. Using over 6,000 tons of black basalt rocks and earth from the site, Smithson formed a coil 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide that winds counterclockwise off the shore into the water.

The work was submerged when the waters returned. It emerged again in 2004 before submerging again when the water level rose. It keeps disappearing, re-appearing and changing its form.

Detroit Salt Mine

Some 366 meters beneath the streets of Detroit, under the north end of Allen Park, run long subterranean roads over an area of more than 600 hectares.

As a Detroit industry the mine is older than automobiles. As a geological entity, this salt deposit is older even than the dinosaurs.

The salts were accumulated some 400 million years ago during the Devonian Period, when the first fish were beginning to grow legs and make their way onto land, and the first seed-bearing plants came into existence.

Lake Natron

The salty red lake is on the border of Kenya and Tanzania. The salt-loving organisms and algae have colored the lake a deep red.

Though most species cannot handle the 120-degree lake water, cyanobacteria have made Natron their home and turned the lake its trademark reds and oranges. This algae growth has also fostered the developments of Lesser Flamingo nests. Amazingly, 2.5 million flamingos make Lake Natron their home.

 

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