Hard Water and What Makes the Ocean Salty

09.24.2020 - By PlanetGeo: The Geology Podcast

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This week we tackle a big question: why is the ocean so salty?  Spoiler alert: it's because of the hard water you may have running through your house!

In this episode we cover three major questions: 1) Why is the ocean salty? 2) Why do rivers keep flowing all the time? and 3) What is hard water?  Guess what...they are all related! 

Hard water is water that is "hard" to make a lather with.  This is caused by dissolved ions in the groundwater.  Those ions get there because groundwater interacts with rocks under... wait for it... the ground! This groundwater feeds rivers, which then flow into lakes and ultimately the oceans.  The ocean water then evaporates, leaves behind the salty stuff from dissolved rocks, forms clouds and rain, and starts the whole process over again.  Except, the salty ions are left behind in the ocean and accumulate over time.  

Hard water is extremely important to pay attention to because it can severely damage industrial equipment as well as cost you thousands of dollars in home repairs if you don't get it taken care of it.  Here is a link to a United States Geological Survey article that outlines hard water, where it is found, and what it can cause.  Check out that picture of the clogged pipe!  


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