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IF ALL the sea salt were evenly distributed throughout the land, it would form a layer over 100 feet [150 m] thick — about 45 feet [45 m] high! Where did all that salt come from, especially considering that freshwater flows continuously from streams and rivers into the oceans? Scientists have discovered some of its origins.
One source is the land we tread on. As soil and rock absorb rainwater, it dissolves tiny minerals, including salt and its chemical elements, and flows into the sea through streams and rivers (1). in this process is weathering.Of course, salt is only slightly present in fresh water, so we do not taste it.
Another source is the minerals that turn to salt in the deepest layers of the ocean. Water penetrates the sea floor through cracks, it heats up very hot, and the molten minerals rise again. Hydrothermal vents — some of which become underwater geysers — discharge into the sea the combined water and soluble minerals (2).
In the opposite process with the same result, underwater volcanoes emit a lot of hot rocks in the ocean, and these rocks release chemicals into the water (3). Minerals also emit air that carries small particles from land to sea (4). Because of these processes, almost all known substances are present in seawater. However, the main ingredient in salt is sodium chloride — the common salt. It makes up 85 percent of soluble salt and is the main reason why seawater is salty.
Why Does the Salt Level Not Change?
Salt accumulates in the sea because the water evaporating from the ocean is almost pure. Minerals are left in the ocean. At the same time, minerals continue to flow into the oceans; but the salt level of about 35 parts per thousand parts of seawater does not change. Thus, it appears that salt and other minerals increase and decrease in almost the same amount. This raises the question, Where does salt go?
Many substances of salt are absorbed by the body by living organisms. For example, coral polyps, shellfish, and crustaceans eat calcium, a substance of salt, for their skin (shell) and bones. Tiny algae called diatoms capture silica. Bacteria and other organisms eat soluble organic substances. When these organisms die or are eaten, the salts and minerals in their bodies eventually fall to the sea floor as dead substances or feces (5).
A lot of salt that is not removed by biochemical processes is removed in a different way. For example, mud and other earth's elements may be mixed with a small amount of salt that reaches the oceans by rivers, rainwater, and volcanic ash and carried to the sea floor. There is salt sticking to the rocks. Thus, in various ways, a lot of salt goes to the sea floor (6).
Many researchers believe that geophysical processes complete this cycle over a very long period of time. The surface of the earth consists of a large plate. Some of them collide in subduction zones, where a plate bends over the adjacent plate and sinks to the hot tablecloth. The heavier ocean plate is usually submerged in its lighter adjacent continental plate, carried away by the salt deposits like a large hauling machine. In this way, most of the earth's crust (7) is gradually recycled. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes are indications of this process. *
Unchanged is amazing
The level of salt in the oceans varies from place to place and sometimes in different climates. The saltiest water flows into the ocean are the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, where evaporation is very rapid. Areas of the ocean that flow with freshwater from large rivers or very frequent rains are less salty than usual. So is the seawater near the freshwater ice melts from the North Pole and the South Pole. Conversely, when it freezes, the surrounding sea water becomes saltier. However, the level of ocean salt does not change in general.
Seawater can also be said to not change the pH, which measures the acid or alkaline level of a substance, with a neutral number of 7. The pH of seawater is between 7.4 and 8.3, which is relatively high alkaline. (Human blood has a pH of about 7.4.) If pH is no longer at this level, the ocean will be in danger. In fact, this is what scientists now fear. Most of the carbon dioxide that humans add to the atmosphere goes into the ocean and reacts with water to form carbonic acid. So people may be gradually increasing the acidity of the ocean.
Many of the mechanisms that keep the chemical state of seawater unchanged are not yet fully understood. What we have learned, however, still highlights the vast wisdom of the Creator, who cares for his creation. — Revelation 11:18.