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Halite precipitation from double-diffusive salt fingers in the Dead Sea: Numerical simulations

Citation

Ouillon, Raphael et al. (2019), Halite precipitation from double-diffusive salt fingers in the Dead Sea: Numerical simulations, UC Santa Barbara, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25349/D99G6F

Abstract

We employ direct numerical simulations in order to analyze the role of double-diffusive salt fingering in halite precipitation from hypersaline lakes. Guided by field observations from the Dead Sea, which represents the only modern deep stratified lake that precipitates halite under hydrological crisis, we consider a saturated layer of warm, salty brine (epilimnion) overlying a layer of colder, less salty brine (hypolimnion) that is also saturated. The double-diffusive instability originating in the metalimnion gives rise to an asymmetrical pattern of less salty ascending fingers, accompanied by descending salt fingers that lose heat as they propagate through the metalimnion. The net result is a strong, downward salinity flux that leads to the undersaturation of the epilimnion, while the hypolimnion becomes oversaturated and precipitates halite. These interfacial processes within deep, hypersaline watercolumns in warm and dry regions suggest a potential route towards the formation of thick halite layers found in the geological record.