Salar de Uyuni

Salt, salt and more salt at Salar de Uyuni.

  • Salar de Uyuni is also known as Salar de Tunupa which can be translated from Spanish as ‘salt flat enclosure’.
  • Salar de Uyuni is the world’s biggest salt flat with a measurement of 10,582 km squared (4,086 miles squared), which can be found in Bolivia, South America.
  • Salar de Uyuni has a salt crust that ranges between a few centimetres up to 10 metres (32 feet) thick, that covers the area of a salt water lake that ranges from 2 to 20 meters (7-66 feet) in depth.
  • Salar de Uyuni contains a large amount of chemical metals including sodium, magnesium, potassium, and 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium resource that is extracted to make batteries.
  • Salar de Uyuni has little wildlife, but has 80 species of visiting and migrating birds, including three species of flamingos, as well as a few islands, where the main foliage is cacti, as well as hot springs and geysers.

Salt flats, Salar de Uyuni, Long, forever, cracks, dry, lake, Ten Random Facts, Bolivia, South america

Salar de Uyuni
Image courtesy of Ronan Crowley/Flickr
  • Whilst some salt is extracted from Salar de Uyuni, it is estimated that the flat contains 10 billion tonnes (11 billion tons) of salt.
  • Salar de Uyuni has a train cemetery, where trains were used in mining industries until 1940, and this has become one of the most popular attractions on the salt flat.
  • Salar de Uyuni was originally believed to be completely flat, and can make photographs look distorted, but GPSs have shown it has some tiny undulations in the surface.
  • Salar de Uyuni is sometimes covered in clear water, making the salt flat also the largest natural mirror.
  • NASA uses Salar de Uyuni, since it is unmoving and easily spottable, to figure the positioning of NASA’s satellite.
Bibliography:
Salar de Uyuni, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salar_de_Uyuni>
Salar de Uyuni Facts, 2011, Travel Unearthed, <http://www.travelunearthed.com/salar-de-uyuni-facts>

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Alps

Just a bunch of mountains.

  • The Alps is a range of mountains that form a crescent shape in Europe, that covers a distance of 1,200 km (750 miles).
  • The Alps can be found in Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Monaco.
  • The Alps is the home of many glaciers.
  • There are 13,000 species of vegetation and 30,000 species of wildlife, many of which are native to the Alps.
  • A mummified man was found in the Alps at the Austrian/Italian border in 1991, said to be 5,000 years old.
Alps, Mountains, White, Snow, Winter, Many, Rock, Landscape, Ten Random Facts, Free Digital Photos
Alps
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol/ Free Digital Photos
  • Fourteen million people live in the Alps region, and the area attracts approximately 120 million visitors every year.
  • In the Alps there are 82 official summits that are at least 4,000 m (13,123 ft) high, and the  highest peak is Mont Blanc which is 4,810 meters (15, 780 feet) high and is on the French and Italian border.
  • The Alps have been the source of many minerals and crystals, which has included copper, gold, iron, cinnabar, quartz and amethyst.
  • It is suggested that between 40,000 to 80,000 men died in World War I due to avalanches on the Alps.
  • The Alps provide water that those in the region drink; use for irrigation purposes; and create hydroelectric power in over 500 power plants, that can produce up to 2900 kilowatts of electricity per hour.
Bibliography:
Alps, 2013 Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alps>

Aluminium

Aluminium or aluminum

  • Aluminium is a widely used, soft, light, durable metal.  It is silvery, gray or white in colour and has a metallic look.
  • Aluminium makes up 8% of the weight of the earth’s crust.
  • Aluminium is generally found combined, in different minerals – over 270 of them.
  • Aluminium is high in heat and electricity conduction.
  • Aluminium doesn’t corrode very easily.

Aluminium Roll, Aluminum, Ten Random Facts

  • Aluminium is hard to extract from ore, like bauxite.
  • Aluminium can be fully recycled without losing any of its qualities.
  • Australia is the one of the major produces of the major aluminium ore, bauxite.
  • In 2005, the global production of aluminium was 3.19 billion kilograms (31.9 million tonnes).
  • Ancient Greek and Romans used aluminium salt to stop bleeding of cuts.
Bibliography:
Aluminium 1 December 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium>

Silver

Silver is pretty, white and shiny.

  • Silver is harder than gold but softer than copper, and is approximately 2.5 on the hardness Mohs Scale.
  • Silver conducts electricity and heat better than any other metal.
  • Silver is one of the only materials that absorbs oxygen, which enables it to rid substances of germs and bacteria.
  • Silver can be beaten into sheets, drawn into threads and modelled.
  • The alloy, mixture of chemical elements, of silver is called electrum.

Silver necklace, Blue Flowers, Ten Random Facts

  • The main producers of silver are currently Peru, Bolivia and Mexico.
  • Silver in its natural state can be found mixed with gold or other ores like copper, zinc or lead, and is rarely found without contaminants.
  • Sterling silver is the mix of 7.5% copper with silver.
  • Silver was popularly used in many ancient coins, and is now used in medical equipment, some medicines, jewellery, silverware, medals and in the photography industry.
  • Silver is currently worth $32.13 Australian dollars per ounce.
Bibliography:
Blackwood, A 1979, Gold and Silver, Wayland Publishers Limited, England
Silver 20 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver>

Diamond

Ooooooooh – pretty! Well, pretty if polished and cut. Polished and cut facts coming right up!

  • Diamond is one of the rarest and prettiest stones in the world.
  • Diamonds are made from carbon.
  • Diamond is the hardest natural material ever discovered.  The hardness results from the strong carbon atom arrangement.
  • Originally, the main diamond producers were India, Africa and Brazil but currently, Australia and Russia have the greatest supplies and mine more diamonds than any other country in the world.
  • Diamond is normally found in rivers or in a type of rock called kimberlite.Blue cut polished diamond, Ten Random Facts, Free Digital Photos
Polished, Cut Diamond
Image courtesy of Anusorn P Nachol/ Free Digital Photos
  • Diamonds are bought and sold using a measurement called carats, which is equal to 0.2 grams.
  • Before kimberlite was discovered, diamond was often dug out from the sand.
  • Now people use x-rays to separate diamond from kimberlite rock.
  • 75%-80% of people’s engagement rings contain a diamond.
  • Nearly 80% of the diamonds that are mined are used for tools or other equipment since they are not suitable to be used as gemstones.
Bibliography:
Diamond 12 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond>
Herbert, S 1980, Diamonds, Wayland Publishers Limited, England

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