Definition: A flat expanse of ground covered with salt and other minerals, usually shining white under the sun. A salt pan is formed where water pools. A saline pan would be a lake or a pond if it were located in a climate where the rate of water evaporation were not faster than the rate of water precipitation, i.e., if it were not in a desert. If the water is unable to drain into the ground, it remains on the surface until it evaporates, leaving behind whatever minerals were dissolved. Over thousands of years, the minerals (usually salts) accumulate on the surface.