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Salar de Uyuni is a magical place: When covered by water, the world's largest salt flat becomes a mirror, and anyone walking across it appears to be walking on clouds. The salt crust, which covers 10 583 square kilometres in southwestern Bolivia at 11,995 feet above sea level, is nearly flat, which makes it ideal for calibrating the altimeters of satellites. Salar de Uyuni's origins lie in prehistoric lakes; it is a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos.