When does water become salty?

Water becomes salty when minerals (including salts) dissolve into it. This process begins when rainwater falls on the land and erodes rock. The minerals found in rock are dissolved into the rainwater.

These dissolved minerals in the rainwater enter streams and rivers, gradually working their way into the seas and oceans.

This is a process which is constantly taking place, so the level and concentration of salt in the oceans and seas is always increasing. Some of the minerals are consumed by organisms in the water, but the vast majority of them make up the saltiness of the water.

Fact File:

Lighthouses were built to worn ships at sea that they were approaching land and rocky water. Their beam of light across the waves made travelling by boat much safer.


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