Why Salty Seawater

Why is the sea water salty – know the causes, processes and unique facts about why the sea tastes salty and other unique facts

According to geomarine geology scientists, salt in the sea is the result of rainwater which previously carried mineral ions from land to sea. As a result of carbon dioxide in the air which then dissolves into the rain water it will taste salty.

When rainwater falls, it releases the salt mineral content which separates into ions which are carried by the flow of water from the land to the ocean. The following below are several theories that explain why seawater then tastes salty. Check these out!


Causes of Salt Sea Water?

Every part of the ocean tastes salty even though the level of saltiness varies. One of the reasons oceanographers love using salinity to study the oceans is because there are only a few ways that it can change it, and almost everything happens on the surface or on the ocean floor.

For example, surface water in the Mediterranean Sea is usually saltier when compared to the equatorial Pacific, this is due to increased evaporation in dry climates which then concentrates the salt, while rain on the Equator dilutes the salt.

This salinity itself is inherent in sea water. This is the result of the give and take of ions that enter and leave the ocean. The same process occurs in other waters although ion intake is not always high enough to make the water completely salty.

This is the reason why rivers and streams that deliver salt to the sea are still considered fresh water. Dilution from rain tends to offset whatever ions they carry. The oceans meanwhile, act as the salt dumps of the world, and no amount of dilution can change that.


1. Mineral Content

According to the National History Museum, seawater is salty because it contains lots of minerals. This mineral is obtained from rocks on the mainland. How did this mineral then get to the sea?

Carbon dioxide in the air that combines with rainwater. This mixture then makes the rainwater slightly acidic. This acidic rainwater then breaks down the minerals and ions in the rocks.

These minerals and ions are then carried by river water to the sea. Because it has been going on for a very long time, minerals and ions keep accumulating. The content of these substances will then cause sea water to become salty.

Another source that causes seawater to taste salty is hydrothermal fluids. Quoted from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Institute (NOAA), this liquid comes from vents on the ocean floor.


2. Heated sea water

Seawater will seep into the cracks on the ocean floor. This water will then be heated by magma that comes from the earth’s core. This heat will give rise to several chemical reactions. Water will release oxygen, magnesium, sulfate and some iron.

This reaction then adds to the salt content in seawater. Chloride and sodium are the most abundant ions in seawater. Nearly 85% of seawater is sodium and chloride. 10% of seawater contains magnesium and sulfuric acid while the remainder is other ions.

Minerals from rocks and chemical reactions themselves are the main cause of salty seawater. This seawater seeps into the cracks in the ocean floor. This water is then heated by magma that comes from the earth’s core.

The heat causes several chemical reactions. Water will release oxygen, magnesium, sulfate and some iron. This reaction then adds to the salt content in seawater. Chloride and sodium are the most abundant ions found in seawater. Nearly 85% of seawater is sodium and chloride.

10% of seawater contains magnesium and sulfuric acid while the remainder is other ions. So what causes why seawater is salty isn’t fish urine at all, huh. Minerals from rocks and chemical reactions are the main causes of salty seawater.


3. Hypersaline

The Dead Sea contains hypersaline waters because the salt content is very large due to inequilibrium evaporation processes so that humans easily float on the surface of the Dead Sea.

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In the Dead Sea there are also various types of water between salty and fresh, namely in the area between the sea and rivers, namely brackish water. Currently, on average every 1 kilogram of seawater contains 35 grams of salt.

The saltiness of the oceans on Earth also varies, the most foreign ocean water is the Atlantic ocean, because there is more evaporation than falling rainwater and rivers that flow into it.

However, the variation in the level of saltiness of each ocean is very small, but has an impact on the circulation of ocean currents. So it turns out that at first the ocean was a bit salty and the water from the rivers just kept making the sea water even saltier. Researchers don’t know for sure what will happen next, whether the sea water is getting saltier or vice versa.


5 Processes Causing Salty Seawater

Since school we have studied the cycle of rotation of water (hydrology). But maybe you are wondering, why does sea water taste salty? It is from these stages that the sea water tastes salty.

That is, when water flows through objects on land such as soil and rocks, the salts and minerals contained therein are carried away by the water flow.

Mineral content that flows like mineral salts: potassium, calcium and sodium will then remain in seawater, while H2O (hydrogen dioxide) will turn into clouds. This is another reason why sea water tastes salty.


1. Temperature Level

The temperature level for each area is different. The Dead Sea in Israel for example, the sea water there is 30% saltier than other sea water, with very hot temperatures, the evaporation process then becomes bigger resulting in a very high level of saltiness of sea water.

Vice versa, when the air temperature is cold, the sea water is not so salty, for example in Finland. The sea water is not salty so it won’t hurt your eyes when swimming.


2. Rainfall

Rain as the most basic process why sea water is salty. When the water seeps into the ground, then flows in the rivers, and passes through the rocks, the mineral salt content will then be carried away by the water currents to the sea.

Thus, the mineral content will be concentrated in the ocean. Even though in fact the ground water produced from the rain process also contains salt, only in very small amounts.


3. Hydrothermal ventilation

It turns out that the seabed also has various processes and stages that support the nature and workings of the sea. Other reasons why seawater is salty include hydrothermal vents, a seafloor process in which jets of extremely hot water occur.

In addition, the process of volcanism is also the cause of salty sea water. With this process water then dissolves a lot of mineral content.


4. Salinity of Each Region Is Different

Salinity or saltiness (salt content) dissolved in water also affects the saltiness of seawater somewhere. However, every ocean certainly has a different salinity, one of which is influenced by the temperature in the area.


5. Evaporation

The temperature in an area not only affects the saltiness of seawater, but also affects the evaporation process. For example, the Dead Sea in Israel is 30% saltier than other seas, meaning that the evaporation process that occurs is greater.

Therefore sea water has a salty taste. This is because the salt content on the mainland is also carried away by the flow of water towards the sea and is concentrated in the ocean. Thus causing seawater to taste salty.


Unique Facts of the World’s Oceans


1. Glowing Sea Water Phenomenon

Have you ever found the phenomenon of sea water that can glow. This turns out to be due to a chemical reaction between plankton and oxygen where they will then produce “bioluminescence” or commonly known as light emission which causes seawater to glow.

Bioluminescence (Bioluminescence) is the light produced by sea creatures as a defense mechanism. The chemicals in this creature’s body when balanced with atmospheric oxygen will then produce light.


2. Phenomenon of the Red Sea

The next most amazing phenomenon is where the sea water turns red. This is caused by the presence of red algae which are rich in the pigment phycoerythrin.

This algae will also multiply and make the water look red. This algae itself can actually harm fish populations because it can deplete oxygen stocks.


3. Ice Flower in the Ocean

Ice flowers are not only in the Frozen cartoon. In the real world there is a phenomenon of ice flowers over the ocean. This phenomenon also occurs because the temperature around the ocean is very cold with little wind speed.


4. Expanse of Red Salt

Red Salt Expanse as is one of the marine phenomena that rarely occurs in the world. This salt bed suddenly changed color. The red algae attack and make the salt across the ocean turn red.

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5. The Milky Sea Phenomenon

Milky Sea refers to the unique milky radiance in the waters of the Indian Ocean. This phenomenon occurs due to the action of luminous bacteria and in turn, causes the water to turn blue, which to the naked eye appears milky white in the dark. The Milky Sea phenomenon has been documented and exists for more than four centuries.


6. Convergence of the Baltic and North Seas

This marine phenomenon has become a highly debated topic. The North and Baltic Sea convergence point occurs in the Skagen Province in Denmark. However, due to the different levels of density in the ocean waters, the ocean waters remain separated or split apart even though convergence occurs.


7. Steam phenomenon in the Black Sea

This steam phenomenon in the Black Sea is also known as sea smoke, steam that comes out of the Black Sea due to the humidity of the ocean water which is opposite to the coolness of the wind above the surface of the water.

Apart from explaining the ocean mystery behind the steam rising from the Black Sea, experts have also proven that the phenomenon is quite common in smaller bodies of water.

8. The phenomenon of Green Flashes or Lightning

Green The phenomenon of green flashes occurs at sunset and sunrise. Usually visible for only a few seconds, these green flashes are the result of a natural prismatic effect from Earth’s atmosphere.

As the sun sets and rises, the light emitted by the sun diverges into several colors, which are seen by flashing a green flash.


Baltic Sea Anomaly

The Baltic Sea was accidentally discovered by a team of diving experts in 2011. Divers found a 60-meter-thick coiled entity at nearly 90 meters deep in the Baltic Sea.

A track seemed to lead to the entity, which the divers measured to be around 300 meters. Although various scientists have provided innumerable suggestions about the origins of the entity, the Baltic Sea anomaly still remains one of the world’s oceanic intrigues and unsolved mysteries.


1. The Brinicle Phenomenon

This phenomenon occurs when concentrated salty water that comes out of the frozen ice that forms above sea level seeps into the depths of the water. However, once the concentrated salt gets under the surface of the water, due to natural processes it freezes and brinicles form.

Brinicle or brinickel occurs in cold ocean waters around the poles. Many refer to it as an underwater ice tornado or cold finger of death, others as ice stalactites and underwater crystals.


2. The Red Tide Phenomenon

Red tides or often also referred to as phytoplankton blooms are a natural phenomenon that often occurs because the frequency, intensity and distribution of phytoplankton blooms have increased in the last 10 years.

Red tide itself can be defined as a condition where small single cell plants that live in the sea grow very quickly and accumulate in a collection that is easily visible on the surface of the sea water.

Red tide itself is closely related to eutrophication and environmental conditions that support it, such as adequacy of light, suitable temperature conditions, and input of organic matter from the mainland after heavy rains.

The direct effects of red tides on fish themselves can damage the gills, either mechanically or through the formation of toxic chemicals, neurotoxins, hemolytic or blood clotting agents, which can cause physiological damage to the gills, major organs (such as the liver), intestines, circulatory or respiratory systems, or interfere with the process of osmoregulation.

Conversely, the indirect effect of red tides is the excessive use of oxygen for respiration and the decay of the phytoplankton assemblage. Some of the organisms that cause red tides can harm humans if humans eat filter feeder animals (such as fish or shellfish) that contain the toxins of red tide organisms that have been eaten by the fish or shellfish.


4. Sea Foam

Sea foam or sea form occurs due to the disturbance of organisms on the surface of the water, this occurs due to constant tides. Or, in certain cases, this sea foam is also caused by disturbances caused by various human activities such as dumping toxic waste into sea waters.


5. Underwater Crop Circles

Once thought of as objects of high intrigue, crop circles or circles under the sea are later described as creative demonstrations of the pufferfish’s search for mates.

This crop circle also has a circumference of more than six feet or about 1.8 meters. Often decorated with shells and other decorative items found on the ocean floor. Underwater crop circles found under the waters of the Japanese island of Amami Oshima.

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