Playa, the Spanish word for beach or shore, is a term used
to describe the dry lakebeds of the American desert. A playa is a hydrologically
closed system, with no water outsource, so all water entering the flat is
eventually lost through evaporation. For much of the year Playas can contain
a 3-5 inch layer of water from rain or mountain runoff, this water evaporates
slowly depositing an alkaline or salt flat. The thin layer of water and ice
polishes the surface creating some of the flattest and smoothest land planes
on earth, later the sun bakes this surface to the consistency of concrete.
The playa is the ideal plane for use in land speed car racing, military landing
strips, and also has been used extensively as the abstract backdrops of fashion
shoots and car commercials.