Frozen Water

Photo by Joel Casto

Photo by Joel Casto

10/22/14
To Do Today:

  • PT – Cardio – 2000m swim for time // Strength – Leg group

Ice and Water

Heat kills waterborne pathogens, cold does not. Purify cold water, or water under ice, obtained from lakes, streams, rivers, etc. the same as you would in a temperate environment.

Melting snow and ice is the primary method to replenish water supply in arctic environments, or at sea in extremely cold environments. However, fuel use and the task of cutting ice and melting snow is resource intense. Twice the amount of fuel is needed to melt snow than if you melt ice for the same quantity of water. Pack snow tightly in the container to be heated to increase efficiency. Also, packing a water bottle with snow that is 1/4 filled with water, and then keeping it under a parka while moving or working is an efficient way to melt snow on the go.

Sources of liquid water should be safely explored whenever possible (i.e., water from lakes or streams under ice). If digging a hole in the ice over a lake or river to obtain water, carefully do it to avoid splashing:

  • First start to axe or chop all around the hole but make very sure not to puncture the ice to the water.
  • Cut until all your hole is deep and wide enough for your bucket or water storage device.
  • Once you are near water on all sides, give a sharp blow to break the ice totally.
  • If you don’t do this, the water will seep into your hole and you may get dangerously wet while trying to enlarge the hole to collect water.

After cutting a hole over fresh water, the hole should be covered to prevent refreezing (if using the source more than once).

Frozen salt water

Sea ice generally becomes fresh during the period between its formation and the end of the first summer thereafter. If during freezing weather you are ever in a position where you have no other source of water but salt water, contain small amounts of brine and allow ice to form in it. The slush and any remaining liquid should then be removed. The ice will be fresh enough to use in an emergency. On a larger scale, ocean ice looses salt so rapidly that ice over 1 year old is nearly fresh. Ice formed 2 or more years old can not be distinguished as far as taste goes from river ice unless waves have been breaking over it recently or spray has been dousing it. Melted hollow otherwise will usually be found to contain ample fresh water. Salted ice is grey and opaque whereas unsalted ice is bluish and of crystal color.


Information contained on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. Please refer to our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before attempting any technique described herein.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.