Hypersaline lake

Hypersaline lake

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A hypersaline lake is a landlocked body of water
Body of water
A body of water or waterbody is any significant accumulation of water, usually covering the Earth or another planet. The term body of water most often refers to large accumulations of water, such as oceans, seas, and lakes, but it may also include smaller pools of water such as ponds, puddles or...

 that contains significant concentrations of sodium chloride
Sodium chloride
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCl. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean and of the extracellular fluid of many multicellular organisms...

 or other mineral salts, with saline
Saline water
Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

 levels surpassing that of ocean water (3.5%, i.e. 35 grams/liter). Specific microbial and crustacean species thrive in these high salinity environments that are otherwise inhospitable to most lifeforms. Some of these species attain dormancy when they are desiccated
Desiccation
Desiccation is the state of extreme dryness, or the process of extreme drying. A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains such a state in its local vicinity in a moderately sealed container.-Science:...

 and organisms of certain species have been shown to survive for over 250 million years.

The most saline lake in the world is the Don Juan Pond
Don Juan Pond
Don Juan Pond, also called Lake Don Juan, is a small and very shallow hypersaline lake in the west end of Wright Valley , Victoria Land, Antarctica, west from Lake Vanda. It is wedged between the Asgard Range in the south and the Dais in the north. On the west end there is a small tributary and a...

, located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys
McMurdo Dry Valleys
The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of snow-free valleys in Antarctica located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. The region is one of the world's most extreme deserts, and includes many interesting features including Lake Vida and the Onyx River, Antarctica's longest river.-Climate:The Dry...

 in Antarctica. The Don Juan Pond has a salinity level of over 40%, (i.e. 12 times saltier than the ocean water). Its high salinity prevents the Don Juan from freezing even when temperatures are below −50°C. There are other hypersaline lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys
McMurdo Dry Valleys
The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of snow-free valleys in Antarctica located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. The region is one of the world's most extreme deserts, and includes many interesting features including Lake Vida and the Onyx River, Antarctica's longest river.-Climate:The Dry...

, but most of them are covered year round with ice, which contributed to the relatively late discovery of their existence.

The most saline lake outside of Antarctica is Lake Assal, in Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

, which has a salinity level of 34.8%. But probably the best known examples of hypersaline lakes are the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

 (33.7% salinity) and the Great Salt Lake
Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere, the fourth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of around , but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its...

. The Dead Sea, dividing Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 from Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, is the world's deepest hypersaline lake. The Great Salt Lake, located in Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, while having nearly three times the surface area of the Dead Sea, is shallower and experiences much greater fluctuations in level than the Dead Sea. Because of this, the Great Salt Lake's degree of salinity also fluctuates greatly. At its lowest recorded levels, it approaches 7.7 times the salinity of ocean water, but when its levels are high, its salinity drops to only slightly higher than the ocean.

Other hypersaline lakes can be found in western North America (besides the Great Salt Lake, Mono Lake
Mono Lake
Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in a basin that has no outlet to the ocean...

), Africa (besides Lake Assal, the seasonal Makgadikgadi Pan
Makgadikgadi Pan
The Makgadikgadi Pan is a large salt pan in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world...

),
and on the French Polynesia
French Polynesia
French Polynesia is an overseas country of the French Republic . It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory...

n island of Niau
Niau
Niau is a small atoll in French Polynesia, in the commune of Fakarava . This atoll has broad fringing reef and an area of 20 km²....

, there is a swampy landlocked hypersaline lagoon.