Minimize Featured Images

Chile's salt flat

27 May 2016

Web Content Image


The Sentinel-2A satellite takes us to the diverse landscape of the eastern Atacama desert in South America in this image acquired on 8 March 2016. The region pictured lies around 200km east of the Chilean city of Antofagasta on the Pacific coast (not pictured), and is virtually devoid of vegetation.

At the top of the image we can see part of Chile's largest salt flat, the Salar de Atacama. With an average elevation of some 2300 m above sea level, it is formed by waters flowing down from the Andes, which, having no drainage outlets, are forced to evaporate, leaving salt deposits.

It is the world's largest and purest active source of lithium, containing some 30% of the world's lithium reserve base, and providing almost 30% of the world's lithium carbonate supply.

Atacama desert

Read more

Minimize Earth from Space programme
Web Content Image

Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. Join ESA every Friday at 10:00 CEST for an 800 km-high tour with spectacular images from Earth-observing satellites.

Read more
Minimize Earth Watching

The Earth Watching project is an ESA/ESRIN service to help local authorities and to promote the benefits of remote sensing data during emergencies, sending images and articles to newspapers, magazines and TV stations.

The Earth Watching website features not only imagery of natural disasters, but also promotes various satellite remote sensing applications through images and articles. Some examples are shown in the special events part of the website.

Read more