Hello everyone, welcome to part 2 of Ask Away!

Today the question is….

WHY IS THE SEA SALTY BUT RIVERS ARE NOT?

Now I get the whole water cycle thing that we are taught in school. I know that water evaporates but the salt minerals are too heavy so they stay behind in the sea. The water that evaporates then becomes rainwater that feeds the rivers that start high up in the mountains.

What I don’t really understand is WHEN does the rivers become salty, I refuse to believe that there is a smack down point that the water just automatically becomes salty.

I was right…

The Ocean Service website said this… ‘Rain replenishes freshwater in rivers and streams, so they don’t taste salty. However, the water in the ocean collects all of the salt and minerals from all of the rivers that flow into it.’ 
The ocean COLLECTS the salt and minerals from stones and other things that are in rivers. The river water carries the tiny particles down stream and practically releases it into the ocean.

So, rivers are actually technically salty. We just cannot tell because the percentage of salt is so small it doesn’t make as big of a difference.
A Canadian Nature website said this, which explains it a little better.
                ‘When fresh water moves over rocks, it dissolves a little of the rock, thereby picking up salt. The rivers then carry this salt back out into the ocean.
In general, fresh water has only a few milligrams of salt per litre.
The ocean is thousands of times more salty than that: ocean water contains about 3500 milligrams of salt per litre.’

Such a confusing little question that becomes so easily explained. I would however not advise people to go around drinking river water to see if it is getting salty yet. Salt water is not very good for drinking. Just wanted to put that out there.
If anyone wanted to know more about the water on our lovely earth then I recommend the WWF website. It gives lots of lovely facts like ‘Only 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater in nature, and about 2/3 of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps.’ See… I never knew that, but now I do. SO INTERESTING!
So that ladies and gents is the answer to the question. It’s not a direct answer but I suppose the direct answer would be, river water becomes salty whenever the river met rocks of any sort that could bear the salt and minerals. 😀
Join me next week to learn something else new… I will try and make it a good one 😀
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