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How Is A Lake Saltier Than The Ocean?

Courtesy of Nicolene Steynberg about the Madswimmers hiking up Mt Ojos del Salado in Argentina.

The Madswimmer group of 7 South African high-altitude swimmers, 2 medics, 4 support climbers, a tour guide and a cameraman found an interesting phenomenon up on their way to Mt Ojos del Salado in the Andes Mountain.

In their attempt to complete the highest swim in the world in Argentina, the Mt Ojos-Madswimmer team swam and kite surfed on their way to Mt Ojos, highest volcano in the world. They found the water to have a very high degree of salinity, an estimated 11 times as high as the ocean.

Nicolene Steynberg explained why. “There are many volcanoes in the area. With the soil and water naturally pans out contains lots of salt and the water doesn’t have an outflow.”

But the trek getting to their location at 6,400 meters is getting tough. “Nobody said the highest swim will be an easy swim. They are facing challenging conditions; it is very cold. They are now on Mt Tres Cruses in search of a backup [swim location] in case the Ojos location is frozen solid. Guide Edwardo found a lake in a volcanic crater at 5,909 meters above sea level after a very difficult climb. The swimmers will still need to climitise before attempting to reach their [destination].

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