saline lake


Tiny sliver of water covering the salt flat at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia - look at the salt piles and even the hexagonal, mudcrack patterned ground.


Ultra-Salty Lake Koyashskoye Is So Pink, It Looks Like Another Planet

It may look like another planet, but don’t be fooled. This is Koyashskoye Salt Lake, a saline lake in Crimea. Its color turns from dusty pink in spring to bright reddish tones in summer, thanks to the presence of microscopic algae and brine shrimp. In dry weather, the sun evaporates much of the water to reveal blazingly bright crystals and boulders covered in salt crusts for a panorama so breathtaking, it’s almost extraterrestrial.

I’ve visited Spiral Jetty in Utah several times, and this was the first time I ran into any living wildlife so close to the beautiful soapy pink/lavender waters of the Great Salt Lake. The view was both breathtaking and heartbreaking. I believe this lone pelican, who was unable to fly and seemingly weak, would likely be claimed by the harsh environment. 

My understanding was that the high salinity of the lake and it’s salt flats offered little to no chance of survival to birds such as this one, but after doing some research it turns out that some areas of the islands serve as breeding grounds for colonies of Utah pelicans! @sixpenceee

Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson. 1970.

“Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks and water, Spiral Jetty forms a 1,500-foot-long (460 m), 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake. The water level of the lake varies with precipitation in the mountains surrounding the area, revealing the jetty in times of drought and submerging it during times of normal precipitation.

Smithson reportedly chose the Rozel Point site based on the blood-red color of the water and its connection with the primordial sea. The red hue of the water is due to the presence of salt-tolerant bacteria and algae that thrive in the extreme 27 percent salinity of the lake’s north arm, which was isolated from fresh water sources by the building of a causeway by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1959. Smithson was attracted to the Rozel Point site because of the stark anti-pastoral beauty and industrial remnants from nearby Golden Spike National Historic Site, as well as an old pier and a few unused oil rigs. While observing the construction of the piece from a helicopter, Smithson reportedly remarked "et in Utah ego” as a counterpoint to the famous pastoral Baroque painting Et in Arcadia Ego by Nicolas Poussin.

To move the rock into the lake, Smithson hired Bob Phillips of Parson’s Construction of nearby Ogden, Utah, who used two dump trucks, a large tractor, and a front end loader to haul the 6,650 tons of rock and earth into the lake. It is reported that Smithson had a difficult time convincing a contractor to accept the unusual proposal. Spiral Jetty was the first of his pieces to require the acquisition of land rights and earth moving equipment.

He began work on the jetty in April 1970. Construction took six days.

In 1970 during the construction of the jetty, Robert Smithson wrote and directed a 32-minute color film, “Spiral Jetty”. The film was shot by Smithson and his wife Nancy Holt, and funded by Virgina Dawn and Douglas Christmas.“ (x)

Watch on

The edge of Salar de Atacama, Chile’s largest salt flat, here currently hosting a nice saline lake (will dry up/evaporate soon).


Flamingoes on the edge of a saline lake in the Bolivian Andes - the water is pink from bacteria living in the lake. In fact, the flamingoes might be feeding on that.