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February 11 2013

Secrets to World's Saltiest Pond Revealed

Antarctica’s Don Juan Pond stays liquid in one of the unlikeliest places on Earth, the frigid McMurdo Dry Valleys. The pond is the saltiest body of water on Earth, eight times brinier than the Dead Sea. The secret to how the pond stays moist and salty suggests the possibility of water flowing on the face of Mars.

A team lead by Brown University geologists discovered that Don Juan Pond gets its salt and some of its water from a nearby deposit of calcium chloride salt. The salt deposit sucks water from the icy air whenever the humidity increases. That salt laden water then slowly trickles downhill towards the pond. The rest of the pond’s water comes from occasional snow melt that helps to wash the salt into the pond.

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