Chemical Analysis of Gaet’ale, a Hypersaline Pond in Danakil Depression (Ethiopia): New Record for the Most Saline Water Body on Earth
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The chemical analysis of the water of Gaet’ale Pond, a small water body located in Danakil Depression, Ethiopia, resulted to be the most saline water body on earth with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 433 g kg−1. The composition of the water indicates the predominance of two main salts: CaCl2 and MgCl2 at a proportion of Ca:Mg = 3.1 (w/w). Traces of K+, Na+ and NO3 − are also detected, as well as Fe(III) complexes that give the water a characteristic yellow color. Density measurements, elemental analysis, thermogravimetrical analysis (TGA) and powder X-ray diffraction data are consistent with the composition and salinity determined. The water of this pond has a similar composition to Don Juan Pond, Antarctica, but a higher salinity, which can be explained in terms of temperature and solubility of the main components.
KeywordsEthiopia Hypersaline water bodies Danakil depression Dallol springs Chlorides solubility Salinity
The authors would like to thank Martyn Poliakoff, Mark Guyler, Peter Bayliss, Carlos Herreros from the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham; Dolores Bermejo from the Chemical Engineering Faculty, University of Valladolid and Viktor Schmalz from Institut fuer Wasserchemie, TU Dresden. The authors also acknowledge Miguel Ángel Martínez, Eugenia Conde, Fekadu Mekuriaw and José Manuel Pérez.
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