To see it from an airplane, you might think someone had spilled a shipment of paint in a pond in Moab, Utah. From the red rocks, geometric patterns peer through in brilliant blues, pinks and yellows.
They're pretty, but what are they?
The bright colors come from potassium chloride, or muriate of potash. It's a water-soluble potassium salt that's been used for more than 1,500 years for agriculture, glass making, soap and textile creation.
The ponds in Moab are managed by a company called Intrepid Potash, Inc. Their mines are almost 4,000 feet deep and have 2 billion tons of potash from ocean deposits left 300 million years ago.
The color comes from a dye that helps the sunlight absorption and speeds the evaporation used in the mining process. The mines are pumped full of hot water, channeled in and out of shallow ponds and processed for their potash content. The color differences are a result of the different salinities and compositions.
The mines have about 125 years left before the natural potash is depleted. If you can't make it out to the mines, you can watch the colors change in real time on Google Maps here.
Credit: Viral Nova