INDUSTRY IN THE ATACAMA

 

THE SUSPICIOUS SHAPES

What the sharp-eyed observer noticed was a small cluster of objects which were very angular and regular. Such shapes are much more likely to be manmade and stand out from natures less regular patterns. The reason for man made buildings on a dry lake bed is to support surface mining of minerals such as Lithium. Mineral rich water is pumped up from underground and evaporated on the dry lake bed in an imitation of the very process that formed the Salars. Them the salts are gathered simply by scrapping them up with a bulldozer. A very different sort of mining than crawling through shafts miles underground.

The Atacama has the world's largest natural supply of sodium nitrate, which was mined on a large scale until the early 1940s, and rich deposits of copper and other minerals. The Atacama economy is declining as reserves of these minerals are depleted and the desert expands into once arable land.

 

CLIMATE

TRANSPORTATION

CONTINUE ON TO

GEOLOGY

EXPLAIN A MYSTERY

BACK TO THE START OF THE ATACAMA

BACK TO GEOCAM

Back to the Can Do Story

Back to the Beginning