Why is the ocean salty?

But just Why is the ocean salty?

If you’ve ever been to the beach before or you’ve read a thing or two about oceans, you must be aware that ocean water is undrinkable due to how salty it is. But while this is common knowledge, you may not know why the water is so salty. Well, there is a simple answer to this: ocean salt comes from land runoff and seafloor openings.

Salt in the ocean waters usually comes from the rocks found on land. Rocks are a great salt source. When it rains, the water erodes rocks, which causes them to dissolve and get transported into the ocean water. Rivers and streams carry the ions released by the rock, and this is how salt reaches the ocean. Even though a good amount of the ions is used by some ocean organisms and removed from the water, not all of them are eliminated. As a result, their concentration boosts as time goes by.

Then, the seafloor vents are also responsible for increasing the amount of salt in the ocean. This leads to hydrothermal fluids, which are created when the water of the ocean enters the seafloor cracks, after which magma from the core of the Earth heats it up. The water takes metals like copper, zinc, and iron from the rocks in the surrounding area while losing things like sulfates, magnesium, and oxygen. Once this happens, the warm water exits through the seafloor vents with all the metals it accumulated.

Sodium and chloride are two of the ions that are most commonly found in seawater. In fact, believe it or not, they actually make 85% of the ocean dissolved ions, with another 10% consisting of sulfate and magnesium. The rest consists of small concentrations of different ions. So, there you have it – the ocean is salty because of land runoff and seafloor openings that enable various ions to reach the water.

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