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Perhaps you have ever wondered why sea water is salty and river water is sweet. It is a fact that occurs all over the world, regardless of the geographical area and the altitude at which we are. In fact, although we can find certain places inland where concentrations of salt or salty lakes are found, in reality, these are extraordinary concentrations and, in addition, they have dimensions that make them considered as seas rather than as lakes. If you want to go a little deeper into the subject and discover Why sea water is salty, then keep reading Green Ecologist and we'll tell you about it.

What is salt

Salt is a mineral compound which is made up of many types of minerals. In reality, what we commonly call "salt" is only one type of salt, but many types of mineral salts can be found in nature. In this way, when we speak of salt, we are referring to a chemical compound that is sodium chloride, and is a molecule made up of both sodium and chlorine atoms.

When we find this type of salt in nature we call it halite, which is the name of the mineral common salt. However, most of the salt that we find in our lives (especially in food) does not come from halite, but from sea salt. When sea water dries up, only the liquid component, that is, water, evaporates. Consequently, the rest of the solid components dissolved in this water are separated and in a solid state, and it is called saltpeter.

Saltpeter It is composed mainly of common salt (sodium chloride), although it has more minerals that are also dissolved naturally in seawater. When the salt is separated from the rest of the saltpeter, it is then that common salt is obtained, or table salt, in other words, the salt that we use to season food.

Why sea water is salty and there is no salt on earth

Actually, you can find places with salt on earth. However, these are exceptional places, since most of the salt on our planet is concentrated in salt water. This is due to a very simple fact, which is that salt dissolves very easily in water.

At the origin of our planet, all salt was similarly distributed over the incandescent surface of the Earth. But, as the surface cooled and the water on our planet went from a gaseous state to a liquid state, they formed the first seas. Then it started too the water cycle. This water cycle implies that the water from the seas evaporates to form clouds, the clouds generate rain, the rain creates rivers and, finally, the rivers return the water to the sea, thus completing the cycle.

As we have said, originally the salt was distributed over the entire surface of the planet. When the water cycle began, the rain caused the salt on the surface to dissolve and was first absorbed by the rivers, which took it upon themselves to transfer it to the seas. However, when the water in the seas evaporated, the salt remained in the sea, so, as the water cycle repeated itself over and over again, the concentration of salt in the seas was higher, at the same time. that the salt on the earth's surface was descending little by little. After millions of years, all the salt had been washed away by the water, causing it to focus entirely on the seas of our planet.

What about those places on earth where there is salt

It is true that there are certain places on the earth's surface where they can still be found. natural salt deposits. This can be due to two different types of causes. On the one hand, it may be the case that it is a place where the water cycle has not dissolved the saltpeter tanks originals from primeval times. In this way, they are mineral salts that have been in the same place since the time of the creation of our planet.

On the other hand, you can find some valleys or inland seas which are also salty. This is because the water cycle has indeed modified the original salt in the area. However, it is an area that, due to its orography, has not been in contact with the largest seas and that are connected to each other. In this way, it is a quantity of salt that has not been able to "escape" from those places, usually because it is found in isolated areas by the mountains. Consequently, just as salt is concentrated in the seas, it is also concentrated in the depressions or isolated valleys of some mountain systems but, in this case, it is salt that has not been able to leave these enclaves despite the millions years that have passed since the water cycle began. It is, for example, what happens in the dead Sea.

Here below you can see an interesting video about Why is the sea salty and another about why river water is sweet.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why sea water is saltyWe recommend that you enter our Nature Curiosities category.

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