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12 Largest Salt Lakes In The World

Our planet Earth is covered in mostly water. Researchers put that number at about 71%, which includes the ocean, lakes, and rivers. The interesting thing about the life-giving liquids that covers Mother Gaia is this: there exist saltwater and freshwater.

The same goes for lakes as well as the ocean. Here is a list of the 12 largest saltwater lakes on the planet:

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1.     Siling Lake

Located in the ‘Tibet Autonomous Region,’ familiar to the world as Tibet, the land-locked body of water covers a whopping 720 square miles. While Tibet operates with an autonomous government, the region is considered a province of China.

Siling is the second-largest saltwater lake in the region in which it is located. The year 1993 saw the lake become part of the Siling Co-National Nature Reserve.

Additionally, more than 100 species of bird call the lake bands and the surrounding environment. One member of those species is the rare black-necked crane.

2.     Lake Namtso

Also known as Lake Nam or ‘Heavenly Lake,’ this 741 square mile lake can be found at the border between Damxung County and Baingoin country, also in Tibet.

When it comes to the largest lake in the region, Namtso comes out on top. There are five islands dotting the lake, which used to be part of a spiritual retreat. Such practice has since been forbidden by the Chinese government.

3.     Lake Barlee

Taking up an area of 764 square miles, this body of water is located in Australia. It is the second-largest lake in the region and is classified as an intermittent salt lake. This means there will be times when the lake disappears for a considerable time. It gets its name from Frederick Barlee, Western Australia’s Colonial secretary in 1869 when the lake was discovered.

4.     Mar Chiquita Lake

Mar Chiquita, meaning “small ocean” in Spanish, takes up an area of 772 square miles. It is located in the northeast of central Argentina’s Cordoba province. An endorheic lake, Mar Chiquita’s goes nowhere unless it evaporates. When that happens, the water left in the basin contains high concentrations of salt and other minerals.

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5.      Lake Alakol

Located in Kazakhstan, Lake Alakol takes up an area of 1,023 square miles near Almaty and Shyghyz provinces. The country’s government has labeled in a wildlife preserve for wetlands birds and other creatures who thrive here. Alakol being a protected area is important to the relict gull, a rare species of bird with less than 10,000 currently in the wild.

6.     Lake Poopo

Located in Bolivia, home of the Salar de Uyuni, Poopo takes up an area of 1,232 square miles. During the later months like September, the lake tends to dry up. The deepest part of the lake only reaches 30 feet, leaving only small marshes when the majority of water dries up.

The dry-up of the lake has happened before, and it has recovered as well.

7.     Uvs Lake

This body of water calls the Asian country of Mongolia home. It spans an area of 1,293 square miles, about 20% than Lake Alakol. Like Poopo, though, it is in an endorheic basin and sits in both Mongolia and part of Russia.

8.     Bakhtegan Lake

Taking up an area of 1,351 square miles, Bakhtegan calls the country of Iran home. Up until a few years ago, this body of water held the title of the largest saline lake in Iran. The Iranian government has since created damns that have decreased its mass while increasing its salinity.

Additionally, the fauna that once called it home is now endangered because of those changes. The creatures most at risk are the flamingos and other birds with similar migratory patterns.

9.     Lake Van

Taking up an area of 1,450 square miles in the provinces of Van and Bitlis, it is the largest lake in the country. Van is what is known as a ‘soda lake,’ or high alkaline with a pH between 9 and 7.

10. Great Salt Lake

Located in the Northern United States, it takes up about 1,669 square miles in the state of Utah. It is the largest saline lake in that part of the world. While it teems with lifelike brine shrimp, shorebirds, and waterfowl it still carries the nickname ‘America’s Dead Sea.’

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11. Lake Urmia

Urmia is 2,008 square miles of water situated between East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan in Iran. The country’s Department of Environment has decreed it a protected area. Over 100 small island dot the waters.

12. Chott el Djerid

Located in Tunisia, it is a land-locked body that takes up 2,703 square miles. The name translates to “Lagoon of the Land of Palms.” While expansive, the Saharan summers see most of the lake evaporate for a time.

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