How are oceans formed? And why sea water is salty?

We all have studied in at least one class that our beloved planet earth is mostly filled with water. Well, it is true. The land we humans occupy is only one-third of the planet’s total dimension. And the rest of the area is occupied by oceans. In a way, you can say that earth is more like a fish planet than a human one.

But if you look at history, you will see that it wasn’t always like this. These oceans didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It took years and years for the planet to become what it is today. The earth had to go through a long process of evolution to provide a habitable environment for humans. If we were to live here in the early days, we couldn’t have survived.

So, if these waters didn’t exist from the start, then how did they form? Also, how could so much water accumulate in one area? To understand this, we might have to look at the history of our world.

In the most ancient pre-historic period, the earth was nothing but a burning ball. It was covered with erupting volcanoes that emitted large quantities of hot gases and liquids. Due to the high temperatures, these converted into steam, which in turn became massive clouds filling up the sky.

According to different theories, these hot clouds covered the entire earth until it rained. Scientists believe that this rain fell incessantly for hundreds of years. As a result of which rainwater collected in low-lying areas and formed seas for the first time. Interesting, right?

This rain not only formed our oceans but also cooled down our land. It somehow lowered the burning temperatures of the planet. Therefore, it is the reason why we can live on earth now. If it weren’t for these rains, our earth would’ve been like other planets too – dead with no sign of life whatsoever.

Also, the earliest rainwater was somewhat salty or saline because of the parent gases like hydrogen chloride emitted by volcanoes. These gases got dissolved in the water that formed the early seas, thus explaining the salty nature of ocean water. Because of it, seawater has a bitter taste and a distinct nature as compared to lake water.

But that is not all, this rainwater also dissolved some salts on the ground. Due to which, all the salt got dragged to the sea, making it even saltier. When water traveled through rocks and stones, they remained almost unaffected. But their soluble salt (e.g., sodium and magnesium) continued to dissolve in the rain and went on increasing the salinity of seawater year after year. This process continued for centuries, and finally, our oceans came into existence. In a sense, the rain verily washed over the entire earth and took all kinds of toxins with it, leaving behind a clean and dry environment for us to live in.

Today, the salt content in seawater is almost 1 kilogram for each cubic foot of water on average. There is so much salt in the sea that if all of it is extracted, its quantity will be sufficient to cover all the land of the earth with a layer of salt about 500 feet thick! Isn’t it amazing?

As shocking as all of this sounds, it proves one thing. The universe is somehow balanced with science. From the Big Bang theory to the salty oceans, everything is a result of some scientific reaction. In short, one can say that there is science behind every mystery – be it small or as humongous as the earth.

Additional reading:

Related posts: