Don Juan Pond, Antarctica: Near-surface CaCl2-brine feeding Earth's most saline lake and implications for Mars

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TitleDon Juan Pond, Antarctica: Near-surface CaCl2-brine feeding Earth's most saline lake and implications for Mars
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDickson, JL, Head, JW, Levy, JS, Marchant, DR
JournalScientific Reports
Volume3
Date Published01/2013
Abstract

The discovery on Mars of recurring slope lineae (RSL), thought to represent seasonal brines, has sparked interest in analogous environments on Earth. We report on new studies of Don Juan Pond (DJP), which exists at the upper limit of ephemeral water in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica, and is adjacent to several steep-sloped water tracks, the closest analog for RSL. The source of DJP has been interpreted to be deep groundwater. We present time-lapse data and meteorological measurements that confirm deliquescence within the DJP watershed and show that this, together with small amounts of meltwater, are capable of generating brines that control summertime water levels. Groundwater input was not observed. In addition to providing an analog for RSL formation, CaCl2 brines and chloride deposits in basins may provide clues to the origin of ancient chloride deposits on Mars dating from the transition period from “warm/wet” to “cold/dry” climates.

URLhttp://www.nature.com/srep/2013/130130/srep01166/full/srep01166.html?WT.ec_id=SREP-704-20130201
DOI10.1038/srep01166