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Home > Why Is the Ocean Salty and Rivers Are Not? > Oceans in Balance

Oceans in Balance

In Balance

Oceans have kept a pretty steady balance of salt over time. One litre of sea water contains about 35 grams (3500 milligrams) of salt. That's about six teaspoons.

A large ocean wave.

Oceans regularly receive small amounts of new salt from river water that flows into them, and from molten rock exposed by cracks in the ocean floor.

At the same time, oceans lose salt to the formation of new rocks.

The amount of new salt added and the amount of salt removed are about the same. This means that the saltiness of the oceans is stable.

An image from a video showing black smokers on the ocean bottom.

Watch This Video!

Black Smokers
Deep under the ocean, there are cracks in the ocean floor. The cracks are called deep-sea vents. The cracks are the path for the mechanism that helps maintain the ocean' salt level.

The deep-sea vents allow superheated water to escape from inside the Earth. This superheated water has minerals and salt dissolved in it. Thus, the salt and minerals are brought into the ocean.

Once they reach the ocean, the salt and minerals cool, solidify and fall to the sea floor. There, they pile up around the opening of the vent and form chimneys that are tens of metres tall. The vents are called hydrothermal vents or black smokers.

Black smokers are home to unusual creatures that are adapted to this environment. They include bacteria and giant tubeworms.
Video (51 sec.)

Neptune and VENUS in the Ocean

If the undersea world interests you, then take advantage of the observations made in projects by Neptune Canada and VENUS. They offer images and information about the bottom of the ocean.

The projects are located in the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Through their observatories, scientists study the chemistry, physics, geology and biology of the sea floor.

Neptune Canada
Watch videos from this project on YouTube:

Visit their web site:

Watch videos from this project on the Canadian Museum of Nature's YouTube channel:

Visit their web site:

Why Is the Ocean Salty
and Rivers Are Not?
Not Only Oceans
Are Salty

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