Can enough salt particulates be in the air to create salty snow or ice that is undrinkable?

Will ice form in sub zero temperatures through condensation in salty air?

  • $\begingroup$ In sea ice, the salt is rejected from the crystalline structure. But I have no idea if any significan amount of salt can exist on the atmosphere and if it could get trapped in snowflakes. However, I really doubt it. Have a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brine_rejection $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2019 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ That's indeed interesting. I have a few friends working on martian glaciers. But I doubt there are salty snowflakes in Mars or Earth, contamination of snow or condensation ice crystals once they are on the ground is different. Salt would be in between ice crystals, not inside them. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2019 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ @CamiloRada so if you could catch the snow before it hits the ground they would be clean. Possibly the top layer in the snow? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Jan 27, 2019 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, on Earth fresh snow is always good to drink. However, I don't know if snowfall actually happen in Mars on its current climate. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2019 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure snow, or any form of precipitation is safe to drink untreated. All precipitation requires a nucleation site, which are often bacteria. Of course, if the choice is death by dehydration or sickening by bacteria, I think I would choose the latter. $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Jan 27, 2019 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


Considering there are evaporation ponds worldwide (San Francisco Bay is full of them, and Morton used to, and may still, have the majority) used for harvesting sea salt, it's doubtful that any salt deposits would end up in the Martian atmosphere. And the atmosphere of Mars is too thin to hold salt blown from existing salt deposits, so salt blown into the atmosphere by Martian dust storms would quickly settle out of the atmosphere.


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