Why, why, why???


Ira Tandon writes, Normal0MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 There are so many things we wonder about.

Normal0MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 There are so many things we wonder about. To list them all would take far too long, so I decided to stick to a common one that most of us wonder about. Why is the sea salty? What makes it salty? Where does the salt come from? If you ponder about these questions constantly, prepare to enlighten yourself. All water consists of substances scientists refer to as “salts”. All water, including fresh water and rain water, are not entirely free of this dissolved salt. Rain WaterAs rain water passes through the atmosphere, it picks up substances. But, as the rain water goes through rocks and soil, the substances get weathered and dissolved, and because the amount of the substances is so low, we cannot taste the salt in rain water. (This website only says “substances” and nothing else.)Fresh Water Streams and RiversFresh water streams and rivers are made up mostly of precipitation. As the precipitation finds its way to the streams with its small load of dissolved minerals, the “fresh water” is also very low in the salts. This causes the streams and rivers to taste the same as rain water. Soon, the rivers and streams flow into the lakes and seas. The lakes are not salty enough to give the oceans and seas all of the salt needed, which is why there are other sources such as rivers. The bodies of the lakes are saltier than the streams, and the sea is saltier than the lakes and so on. So, the salt gets more and more noticeable as the bodies water get larger and larger.Lakes and SeasSeas can’t get enough salt through the streams and the slightly saltier lakes. That’s when the extremely salty lakes such as the Dead Sea (it’s a lake) and the Great Salt Lake come in. They both are about 10 times saltier than seawater! Why, you ask? These lakes have no outlets (ways to flow out into other bodies of water). The water that enters can escape only by evaporation.When the water evaporates, the dissolved salts are left behind.These lakes are salty because the rivers carry salts to the lakes, the water in the lakes evaporate and the salts are left behind. After years and years of river inflow and evaporation, the salt content of the lake water built up to the present levels. The same process is what makes the seas salty. Rivers carry dissolved salts to the ocean and the seas. Water evaporates from the oceans to fall again as rain and to feed the rivers, but the salts remain in the ocean. Because of the huge volume of the oceans, hundreds of millions of years of river input were required for the salt content to build to its present level. The End Perhaps now that you’re enlightened, you will search more and more to quench your thirsty knowledge, for there is one more method for how the sea and ocean become salty. If you want to find out more about this method, go to http://www.utdallas.edu/~pujana/oceans/why.html. This is where I got my information.


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