In order to extract potassium chloride, also known as the spur, from Utah's desert landscapes, Intrepid Potash, Inc. uses a series of evaporating pools whose bright blue water lays in sharp contrast to the red desert surrounding them.
Intrepid Potash, Inc. governs three mines of the United States, one in New Mexico and two in Utah. The most famous and most photographed of these locations is in Moab, Utah, where the electric blue evaporator pots provide a psychedelic scene in a reddish desert.
On a Moab mine, miners pump water from the Colorado River deep into the underworld to reach the potash ore, which is about 3,900 feet (1,200 feet) below the surface. The water dissolves the soluble potassium in salty water, which is then pumped into underground caves. When completely dissolved, the potassium sorbent is pumped into one of the evaporators. And that's when things become trippy.
Water in evaporation lakes is painted in a light blue color to absorb more sunlight and heat. This reduces the time required for potassium carbonate crystallization, after which it can be removed and processed for use as a fertilizer. The process of evaporation in the Moab ponds lasts for about 300 days and the mine produces between 700 and 1,000 tons per day.
As the evaporation process takes place, ponds change color. Sometimes most ponds are blue. Sometimes, however, fishermen show a range of colors, creating long blues with strips of turquoise, orange, yellow and white, pointing to different vapor phase. Anyway, that's a real sight, ponds create an unspoiled landscape along the Colorado River.