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Why is there salt in the ocean?


Why is the ocean salty? Where did all the salt come from?

3442 day(s) ago

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bjones

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All water contains small amounts of trace minerals, all called salts. One of these trace minerals is sodium chloride, common table salt. Water from your faucet, in lakes, rivers, streams, and rain from the sky all has small amounts of salt. The ocean just has a lot more of it. How much salt is in the ocean? Scientists estimate the combined oceans contain a total of 50,000,000,000,000,000 (50 quadrillion) tons of salt. Keep in mind that one ton equals 2,000 pounds. If we took all the salt out of the ocean and spread it evenly across the land surface of the Earth, it would bury us in a layer 500 feet thick. In comparison with a fresh water lake, 1 cubic foot of ocean water contains 2.2 pounds of salt. 1 cubic foot of lake water contains only about .01 pounds of salt. That makes the ocean 220 times as salty as a lake.

It is estimated that the oceans formed about 500 million years ago. A lot of the salt entered the oceans during their formative years. As igneous rocks cooled below the oceans, they released a lot of the salt into the oceans. More salt entered the oceans as rock and sediments on the ocean floor dissolved. Still more salt entered the ocean through the erosion of the land. As mountains gradually break down and rains wash over the land, naturally occurring salts of the Earth are washed into the ocean. As water from the ocean evaporates, the salts are left behind, so the ocean gets more salty with time.




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