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Why Is The Ocean Salty?

When you were younger, you loved going to the beach. Building sand skyscrapers, chucking a frisbee and best of all, standing at the shore and waiting for the ocean to try and take your feet away.

In that moment, as you watch the water tickle your feet and retreat, you feel an urge. As the sun bounces off the water, it looks more refreshing than any Evian bottle you’ve seen before. You have to do it.

You slowly dip your hand in the water and take your first sip of the ocean. And within a second, you hope it is your last sip. Ever. This surprisingly saline drink stings your lips and makes you want to spit out every single drop. But since that day, have you ever found out why it’s so salty?

There are two main reasons for why our oceans are so salty:

1. Rocks

Carbon dioxide in the air dissolves into rainwater making it slightly acidic. When rain falls, it erodes rocks which releases mineral salts that separate into ions. These ions are carried away into stream, rivers and eventually the ocean.

2. Hydrothermal Fluids & Underwater Volcanoes

Ocean water seeps into seabed cracks and gets heated up by magma from the Earth’s core which causes a series of chemical reactions. This heated water dissolves minerals and brings them out into the open ocean. Underwater volcanic eruptions can also directly release minerals into the ocean.

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Akhil Sonthi

Akhil Sonthi

Tech Enthusiast | Entrepreneur | Music Artist | MEng @ Cambridge

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