As part of the new Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, a systematic aqueous geochemical sampling program has been undertaken. A series of terrestrial water samples have been collected and analyzed for major ion chemistry by ion chromatography. The concentrations of ions cover a wide range of total dissolved solids (TDS) from relatively pristine glacier ice to hypersaline lake waters.
Knowledge of the McMurdo Dry Valley (MDV) lakes is limited by winter access, a period which is most relevant in understanding the habitability of other icy worlds and critical to understanding the overall function of these lakes. Owing to the lack of winter access, data that normally require human presence are incomplete. Our goal was to conduct the first year-round investigation of the biogeophysics of these unique lakes. An important part of the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) is evaluating carbon and nitrogen budgets in perennial ice-covered lakes.