Astronomy

Salt, gold and waste in the sea

Salt, gold and waste in the sea

The seas and oceans, by their size, have generally been seen as huge garbage dumps in which to throw everything we have left over, trusting that, thus, the problem is solved. And it is not true.

It is known that the rain that falls to us usually forms offshore and therefore, if the water is contaminated, this toxic water will rain after dragging all the harmful gases and suspended dust generated in the cities. In addition, the fish we eat have lived and grown in these waters, so it ends up returning to us all the waste we have thrown into them.

But why do we act like this? Perhaps because we have seen that whenever there is a great storm, the rivers loaded with mud and materials carried during its course are thrown into the sea. In a matter of days or even hours, he returns to be totally calm and with his beautiful bluish hue. The sea is shown as a large natural landfill that does not seem to be altered with the amount of plant fragments, rocks and sludge it has received. The power of regeneration that we suppose to the sea is immense, but perhaps we are overvaluing it and taking it to the limit.

And, indeed, marine waters usually act as huge deposits of natural materials that arrive from the mainland. Marine currents usually disperse and distribute these sediments in more or less extensive areas, forming, for example, sand barriers some distance from the coast.

On the other hand, rainwater (which when it falls to land receives the name of surface runoff) travels through the surface of the land taking advantage of the inclination and washing it, until they reach areas of lower slope where they accumulate forming lakes or rivers, until Finally flow into the sea. As a result of this washing, the waters that flow into the sea are loaded with more or less dissolved sediments. That is why seawater tastes salty to us, because of the large number of different salts that formed rocks and are now dissolved.

In fact, if we analyze a sample of seawater we will find that 90% of it is made up of sodium, chlorine, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium and potassium. On average, 3.5% by volume of seawater is estimated to consist of dissolved sediments, although there are seas with greater concentration (and with less, of course).

For this reason, when we lie down to rest in the sun after having been in the water, it is common that when the water evaporates we are left with the surface covered with salts that we see or notice when we feel the skin tight or perhaps softer. Precisely after observing this fact, the human being began to build small rafts of shallow seawater to allow rapid evaporation of water, thus obtaining large accumulations of sea salt. This substance is essential for our body.

In the same way, there are precious elements for humanity that are very expensive to extract from the rocks in which they are found, due to the low amount in which it appears. An example of this is gold, lithium, silver, mercury and many other elements that require destroying and crushing thousands of tons of rocks in mines and quarries, to obtain just a few grams of these elements.

However, this washing produced by rainwater, which we have referred to earlier, is capable of dissolving rocks with these precious minerals and pouring them into the sea, where they are deposited. Thus, the largest accumulation of gold on the earth's surface are currently the seas and oceans. However, its concentration is approximately 0.000.000.004 grams per liter of seawater and 0.000.000.003 g / l for silver.

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