Freshwater ice deposits are described from seven, high elevation (4117-4730 m), shallow (mean depth <30 cm), saline (10-103 g l-1) lakes in the southwestern corner of Bolivia. The ice deposits range to several hundred meters in length and to 7 m in height above the lake or playa surface. They are located near the lake or salar margins; some are completely surrounded by water, others by playa deposits or salt crusts. Upper surfaces and sides of the ice deposits usually are covered by 20-40 cm of white to light brown, dry sedimentary materials. Calcite is the dominant crystalline mineral in these, and amorphous materials such as diatom frustules and volcanic glass are also often abundant. Beneath the dry overburden the ice occurs primarily as horizontal lenses 1-1000 mm thick, irregularly alternating with strata of frozen sedimentary materials. Ice represents from 10 to 87% of the volume of the deposits and yields freshwater (TFR <3 g l-1) when melted. Oxygen isotope ratios for ice are similar to those for regional precipitation and shoreline seeps but much lower than those for the lakewaters. Geothermal flux is high in the region as evidenced by numerous hot springs and deep (3.0-3.5 m) sediment temperatures of 5-10??C. This flux is one cause of the present gradual wasting away of these deposits. Mean annual air temperatures for the different lakes probably are all in the range of -2 to 4??C, and mean midwinter temperatures about 5??C lower. These deposits apparently formed during colder climatic conditions by the freezing of low salinity porewaters and the building up of segregation ice lenses. ?? 1988 Dr W. Junk Publishers.
Additional publication details
The distribution, structure, and composition of freshwater ice deposits in Bolivian salt lakes