• Geology

Himalayan salt formed through the evaporation of ancient seas; no evidence that this salt is petrified blood or tissue

Posted on:  2024-05-29

Key takeaway

Available scientific evidence shows that Himalayan salt comes from deposits in the Salt Range Formation, which formed around 545 million years ago through the evaporation of ancient seas. Scientists have analyzed the composition of these salt deposits and found that they are primarily composed of sodium chloride (NaCl), with some minor trace elements. There is no evidence that the deposits are remains of ‘giants’, nor that such a being existed on Earth. 

Reviewed content


Himalayan salt deposits are the petrified remains of ancient giants.

Source: Facebook, TikTok, Social media users, 2024-05-18

Verdict detail


Available scientific evidence shows that Himalayan salt formed through the evaporation of ancient seas, based on geological research and mineralogical analysis. There is no evidence that the deposits are remains of ‘giants’, nor that such a being existed on Earth.

Full Claim

Himalayan salt is the petrified blood and meat of ancient giants, as shown by the colors and appearance of these deposits. Evidence of these giants can also be seen in the shapes of rock formations.


Several videos have been posted on social media claiming that Himalayan salt is the ‘petrified blood and/or meat of ancient giants’. For example, a TikTok video making these claims was posted on Facebook 18 May 2024 and accumulated 385K views. An older TikTok video posted in 2022, linked here, gathered over 12.4 million views. And over a dozen videos with these claims were shared on TikTok between these dates. Given the recurring nature of these claims, we will investigate them below using available evidence.

Himalayan salt deposits formed through the evaporation of ancient seas more than 545 million years ago

Himalayan salt originates from deposits in the Salt Range Formation in the northern Punjab region of Pakistan (Figure 1)[1]. These salt deposits possess unique colors and patterns, due to their composition and the way in which they form. Although these characteristics are thoroughly explained by optical mineralogy and the salt’s composition, social media users claim that these visual traits are evidence that Himalayan salt is the petrified blood and/or meat of ‘ancient giants’. However, as we will explain below, this is inconsistent with available scientific evidence. 

Figure 1 – (a) Study location of map ‘b’ outlined by a small red square in Pakistan. (b) location of Salt Range Formation (bottom gray areas trending roughly east-west) in the northern Punjab region of Pakistan. The black dot in the bottom right marks the location of the Khewra Salt Mine – the second largest salt mine in the world, and one of the primary sources of Himalayan salt. Source: Richards et al. (2021)[1]

Given that these claims rely on the argument of ‘visual resemblance’ (i.e., between meat/blood and Himalayan salt deposits), we will begin by evaluating what causes the salt’s visual appearance. Pure table salt is made up of small crystals of a mineral called ‘halite’, which is composed of sodium chloride (NaCl). While pure halite is white or colorless, other salt deposits, such as those containing Himalayan salt, can possess other trace elements that influence its color. When light enters a crystal, some wavelengths of light are absorbed, while others can refract or pass through[2]. The colors of a crystal match the wavelengths of light that escape without being absorbed. Certain crystals contain impurities, which changes the wavelengths of light (i.e., colors) that can escape. For example, after studying the composition of store-bought salts, scientists found that pink salts – including Himalayan salt – contained “contained substantially higher levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, aluminum, barium, silicon, and sulfur”[3]. In separate studies, geologists have analyzed the sources of these salts – such as those from Khewra Salt Mine (Figure 2), which was a location shown in the ‘giant’s remains’ claim videos.

Figure 2 – Photo from the interior of Khewra Salt Mine, Pakistan. The colored (e.g., pink and white) walls and ceilings are Himalayan salt deposits. Source: Wikicommons

After studying the mineralogy and structure of these formations – at both a microscale and macroscale – all observations showed they formed through geological processes[1,4,5]. Studies found that the salt coming from the Khewra Mine deposited as sea-water slowly evaporated during the Ediacaran to early Cambrian time period (~545 million years ago), forming evaporite deposits known as the Salt Range Formation[1]. Figure 3 shows the stratigraphic (i.e., rock) layers that lie above and below these deposits. 

Figure 3 – (D) Stratigraphic column of the study area from Figure 1. (E) The Salt Range Formation members of the Ediacaran & early Cambrian. Note that the Billianwala Salt was sourced from a wall of the Khewra Salt Mine – the main source of Himalayan salt. Source: Richards et al. (2021)[1]

Chemical analyses of samples from these deposits showed that they are composed of salt (NaCl) with minor trace minerals and elements[5]. Scientists collected and analyzed samples from the Khewra Mine and found that it “consists of 95 % pure halite (NaCl) with pink orange inclusions and bands comprised of carnallite (MgCl2•KCl•6H2O) and polyhalite (2CaSO4•MgSO4•K2SO4•H2O)”[1,5]. This study showed no evidence that these deposits were originally biological tissue or blood – nor have any other scientific studies. Geologists have studied other samples (Figure 3) from the Khewra Mine found similar evidence of the salt’s composition using optical analysis (Figure 5), which showed that it is “white and clear very coarsely crystalline halite with minor orange potash marl inclusions”[4].

Figure 4 – Sample of Himalayan salt collected from Khewra Salt Mine, Pakistan (Figure 2). Source: Richards et al. (2021)[1]
Figure 5 – Thin section (i.e., very thin slice of rock) taken from the sample in Figure 4 and shown under microscope, revealing the size and distribution of halite (i.e., salt) grains. Source: Richards et al. (2015)[4]

Several of the claim-making videos show photos of rocks with shapes with some resemblance to body parts (e.g., faces, legs, skin-like textures). Some of these videos claim that what they are seeing is not ‘pareidolia’ – an illusion where one sees patterns in random or amorphous things. However, this seems to be exactly what is happening, given that there is no evidence that these materials match what the social media users claim them to be. Given the number of photos shared in the claim-making videos, it is beyond the scope of this article to address them all. However, the page linked here provides an excellent overview of the weathering processes involved in creating many of the rock patterns shown in the videos. 

Finally, it is worth briefly noting that no studies have revealed scientific evidence for the presence of ‘giants’ that are referenced in the claim-making videos. Paleontology research, which studies life from Earth’s geologic past, has been conducted since the early 1800s and has revealed no evidence of these ‘giants’. Furthermore, because soft tissue decomposes quickly, harder body parts, like bones, are more easily preserved and fossilized. Therefore, if such a being ever existed, we would more likely find their bones – not ‘petrified’ blood or flesh. However, scientists have found no evidence of either soft or hard body parts for these alleged ‘giants’.


Based on available scientific evidence, Himalayan salt – composed of NaCl and other trace elements and minerals – formed through evaporation of ancient seas during the Ediacaran and early Cambrian time period. After a thorough review of scientific literature, no studies have shown evidence that these deposits originated from blood or tissue, nor have any shown evidence for the existence of ‘giants’. Similar claims have popped up in the past questioning the origin of geological formations due to various visual resemblances. However, as shown above and in a recent Science Feedback review linked here, visual resemblance alone is often insufficient to properly characterize something. Instead, scientific research – such as chemical and mineralogical analyses – can provide evidence-based explanations of visual phenomena.


Science Feedback is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to science education. Our reviews are crowdsourced directly from a community of scientists with relevant expertise. We strive to explain whether and why information is or is not consistent with the science and to help readers know which news to trust.
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