MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: where does the salt in salt water come from?

Date: Tue Dec 1 15:42:24 1998
Posted By: Robert Chesson, Geologist (Certified Professional Geologist), Foothill Engineering Consultants
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 909538488.En

Message Id Number 909538488.En

Question:  Where does the salt in salt water come from?

The salt found in salt water (sea water) is composed primarily of the 
chemical compound sodium chloride and is represented by the chemical 
formular of NaCl.  The two components of sodium chloride (sodium and 
chlorine) are the product of two earth processes; the chemical weathering 
of continental rocks (predominately igneous rocks) and the release of 
gasses (outgassing) that accompanies volcanic activity.  

Chemical Weathering

As igneous rocks undergo weathering (physical and chemical), chemical 
constituents (such as sodium, represented by the chemical symbol [Na]) of 
the rock minerals are released into the environment.  Na as a cation exist 
with a chemical valence of +1 (written as Na+1) which means that it wishes 
to join in a chemical bond with another element with a chemical valence of 
-1 so that the resulting chemical compound has no chemical valence.  

Volcanic Outgassing 

The other component of salt, chlorine is represented by the symbol Cl.   
Chlorine is released into the environment through gas emissions from 
volcanic activity.  

Current Queue | Current Queue for Environment & Ecology | Environment & Ecology archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Environment & Ecology.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-1998. All rights reserved.