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Further Investigations: The Salty Sea

  1. Runoff from land carries minerals into the ocean, these minerals cause the ocean to be salty. Research the effects of other substances that are carried to the ocean by runoff.
  2. The salt in the world ocean is not mixed evenly throughout. Some areas are saltier than others. For example, even though runoff from land is deposited along coastlines, salinity is not necessarily higher closer to land. Why do you think this might be? Research “residence time” and how this affects salinity in the ocean.
  3. How do weathering and runoff affect a lake differently than the ocean?
  4. Seawater naturally evaporates along rocky coastlines. Take a trip to a rocky intertidal area and search for naturally occurring sea salt. Collect some sea salt. You can complete the drying process of large quantities of sea salt by suspending it from porous fabric (like panty hose) in a covered area outside. How does the salt look? How does it taste? How does the taste compare to table salt?

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.