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#WanderLAD: Potash Evaporation Ponds

By Team LAD

So you made it past the dreaded Monday, and yet for some reason you woke up this morning thinking it was Friday. We feel ya. You're stuck at your desk and now more than ever, the day seems to be dragging on. At this point, your mind starts to wander...and we want to wander with you.

This week, let's pack our bags and get lost in...
Potash Evaporation Ponds, Utah.

These electric blue shapes in the brown desert are potash evaporation ponds managed by Intrepid Potash, Inc., the United States’ largest producer of potassium chloride, and are located along the Colorado River, about 30 km west of Moab, Utah. These ponds measure 1.5 square kilometers, and are lined with rubber to keep the salts in.

Unlike other salt evaporation ponds that get a naturally reddish tinge due to the presence of certain algae, the bright blue color of these potash evaporation ponds come from an artificially added dye that aids the absorption of sunlight and evaporation. Once the potassium and salts are left behind, they are gathered and sent off for processing.

To extract potash from the ground, workers drill wells into the mine and pump hot water down to dissolve the potassium. The resulting brine is pumped out of the wells to the surface and fed to the evaporation ponds. The sun evaporates the water, leaving behind crystals of potassium and other salt. This evaporation process typically takes about 300 days.

Intrepid Potash, Inc. produces between 700 and 1,000 tons of potash per day from this mine. The mine has been open since 1965, and Intrepid Potash expects to get at least 125 more years of production out of it before the potash ore runs out.

(via Amusing Planet)
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