Research

How the world’s saltiest pond gets its salt

Documenting the saltiest pond on Earth

A camera installed above Don Juan Pond in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys took 16,000 images in two months, documenting geological processes in real time. The processes that keep Don Juan Pond liquid in Antarctica could be at work on Mars as well. Credit: Geological Sciences/Brown University

Antarctica’s Don Juan Pond might be the unlikeliest body of water on Earth. Situated in the frigid McMurdo Dry Valleys, only the pond’s high salt content — by far the highest of any body of water on the planet — keeps it from freezing into oblivion. Now a research team led by Brown University geologists has discovered how Don Juan Pond gets the salty water it needs to exist.