The World’s Largest Artificial Salt Mountain

The town of Herringen, in central Germany, is home to a heap of sodium chloride (table salt) so massive that it has come to be known as Mount Kalimanjaro (a pun on the German word for potash: Kalisaltz). It's the world’s largest artificial salt mountain. The origin of the salt mound can be traced to 1976, when potash salt started being extracted from mines around the town of Hessen. Back then, potash was used to make products like soap and glass, but today it’s an important ingredient in several fertilizers, synthetic rubber, and even some medicines. For that reason, extraction has intensified over the last few decades. The problem with potash is that mining it generates a lot of sodium chloride as a byproduct, so you need somewhere to store it. The company operating the mines began dumping the salt a few miles from Herringen, and over the years it created a giant salt mountain. Mount Kalimanjaro stands 1,740 feet above sea level and covers an area of over 247 acres. Although it’s hard to determine how much salt the mound consists of, it's estimated to be about 236 million tons. In case you were wondering how they get over 1,000 tons of sodium chloride an hour onto the mound, it’s all done via a mile-long conveyor belt.