Why Is The Ocean Salty

Let’s dive into a handful of questions about salt and our oceans. Here we go!

How Salty Is The Ocean?

3.5 percent of the ocean’s weight is attributed to the salt it contains. Within a cubic mile of the ocean, there are about 120 million tons of salt present.

To get a better idea of how much salt is present in the ocean, there is about 35 grams of salt in one liter of ocean water. It’s close to two teaspoons of salt for every cup of water.

The Atlantic Ocean is considered to be the saltiest ocean in the world. There tends to be a lot more salt present close to the equator close to both poles.

Because of how much salt is present in the ocean, it’s toxic for humans to drink. The human body doesn’t have the ability to filter all the salt ocean water contains, making it unsafe to consume.

Is The Atlantic Ocean Saltier Than The Pacific Ocean?

The Atlantic Ocean is known to contain a higher concentration of salt than the Pacific Ocean because a lot of the water in the Atlantic Ocean evaporates due to the winds that are present, leaving a heavier concentration of salt.

The Atlantic Ocean consistently loses some of its water and is always becoming saltier. It has the same amount of salt at all latitudes. However, it tends to be concentrated close to the coast compared to where there’s open space present in the middle of the ocean farther away from land.

Rivers that empty out into the ocean also contribute to the levels of salt in the Atlantic Ocean. The outflow of rivers drains the landscape and makes the ocean saltier throughout the year.

Why Is The Ocean Salty And Lakes Are Not?

Most people are aware that oceans are salty but lakes are not. This is because rain replenishes the water in lakes. Oceans collect salt and minerals from the different rivers that flow directly into it. An estimated 225 million tons of dissolved solids end up in the ocean each year. Rivers also carry about four billion tons of dissolved salts to the ocean each year.

The ocean is also salty because the bottom of the ocean floor has a lot more salt present because salt also comes up from below of the sea floor. The crest of ocean ridges features hydrothermal vents that add to the natural minerals that are present. The vents are where the water seeps directly into the rocks and the hot temperature of the crust has caused the minerals to dissolve, including salt.

Is The Ocean Is Becoming Saltier?

Recent data that was collected found that the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty in recent years. Between 2004 to 2015, the salt content dropped by half a gram per kilogram of water in the ocean. It’s likely that the change in the saltiness in the water is due to fluctuations with the water circulation in the ocean. More freshwater has been delivered to the ocean as a large system has been moving faster due to stronger winds.

Some scientists even believe the ocean isn’t getting saltier because there’s now a balanced input and output of salt compared to in past years.

Why Is The Bottom Of The Ocean Saltier?

The bottom of the ocean is saltier because cold water is known to have a higher density than warmer water. The temperature of the water starts to decrease with more depth. The salt also tends to sink to the bottom of the ocean rather than float. Salt is heavy, which makes it gradually float to the bottom of the ocean.