|How did salt get into the ocean?|
|Question Date: 2013-04-29|
When it rains, the water flows over sediments,
rocks, and minerals. These materials dissolve a
LITTLE bit; these dissolved ions are carried to
the oceans and build up over time.
When rivers flow over rocks, they erode the
rocks a little and pick up some of the minerals,
including salt, that were in the rocks. The rivers
eventually meet the oceans and slowly bring salt
to the oceans. This happens very slowly over long
periods of time.
Rocks - rocks have salt in them, if only a tiny
amount. Water dissolves salt, and water runs
downhill and collects in the ocean, and then
evaporates to make clouds - leaving the salt
behind in the ocean. Over the eons, this has
caused more and more salt to arrive in the oceans
and stay there, so the oceans have become salty.
Great question! Salt gets into the ocean by the
weathering of rocks on land. Salt is a mineral
that contains the elements sodium and chlorine.
Both of these elements are found in rocks and are
easily dissolved and carried in water. The
interaction of rain and groundwater with rocks
causes some sodium and chlorine to go into the
water. Eventually the water makes it all the way
to ocean basins, and it carries the sodium and
chlorine with it. That is why the oceans are
Because of the water cycle, water gets
evaporated from the ocean and comes down as rain
in the mountains. The rain eventually flows back
down to the lowest point, which is usually the
ocean. On the way, it dissolves minerals and salts
from the rocks and soils, and takes that with it
to the ocean! Over the several billion years this
process has been happening, that adds up!
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