Salt Production in France
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Text, Earth Watch, Exploring the Blue Planet by Satellite
An aerial view of Salin Aigues-Mortes on August 20, 2018
Text, A satellite captured this natural color, bird's eye view of the vibrant salt production process in the tidal marshes of Aigues-Mortes, France.
Salt from nearby marshes is mechanically harvested for industrial, chemical, and pharmaceutical uses.
This area also produces a culinary delicacy, a fragile, flaky crystal harvested by hand.
The production begins in spring. Tides bring relatively fresh water from the Mediterranean inland, while workers carefully manage the flow through a series of canals.
Ample sunlight and light winds promote evaporation and make the water progressively saltier.
The final mixture is spread over a clay pond, where the water's surface becomes saturated with flower-like crystals of fleur de sel.
Throughout August, workers harvest the salt before rain and humidity can destroy the crystals.
Salt is indirectly responsible for the rosy color of the water in this image.
Only a few hardy lifeforms can thrive in this environment, including a beta-carotene rich phytoplankton Dunaliella salina and a pink Halobacteria.
The pigment also trickles through the food chain: The microorganisms feed colonies of brine shrimp, which in turn feed the region's large population of flamingos.
To learn more, go to: earth observatory dot nasa dot gov