DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
These bright blue evaporation ponds contain potassium chloride, a salt found in the geological region known as the Paradox Formation in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Salt deposited from ancient seas made up this formation as it evaporated and was buried by other sediments. Water is pumped down into the formation to dissolve the salt which is then pumped into the shallow, vinyl-lined pond terraces. A blue dye is added to speed up evaporation. The dry desert air and many sunny days make this a productive environment. Twenty-ton scrapers, guided by lasers, harvest the dry salt. A local refinery transforms this concentrated form of potassium chloride into plant fertiliser.
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