28 Dec '14, 3pm

Saltiest Pond on Earth #NASA

Today’s image is the answer to Earth Observatory’s December Puzzler. The world’s saltiest body of water is tucked away in a valley in one of the most extreme environments on Earth. It rarely snows and never rains in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Winter temperatures can drop to -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit), and the few ponds and lakes in the valleys are capped by ice that is several meters thick. Then there’s Don Juan Pond. The ankle-deep pond in the lowest part of Upper Wright Valley is so salty that its calcium-chloride rich waters rarely freeze. Salt particles lower the freezing point of water by moving between water molecules and impeding the formation of the crystal lattice structure of ice. With a salinity level over 400 parts per thousand, Don Juan is significantly saltier than most of the other hypersaline lakes around the world. The Dead Sea has a salini...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84955&s...

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