Why the Ocean is Salt.
Professor Edward Hill read a paper before the Victoria Institute, London, on “How the Waters of the Ocean Became Salt.” From an inquiry into the character and affinities of the organic forms of past geological ages, the conclusion was justified that the waters of the ocean must have been salt from very early geological times, but it by no means followed that they were as fully saline as those of the present day. There were two ways by which they might account for the salinity of the Ocean waters from very early periods of geological times.
First, by supposing that the primeval Waters were saturated with acid gases which were held in suspension in the vapor surrounding the incandescent globe; or, secondly, that the salinity resulted front a process resembling that by which salt lakes of the present day had been formed, lie thought that they must concur with Hr. Sterry Hunt that from some cause or,other chlorine largely abounded in the waters of the primeval ocean, as by far the greater proportion of the salts were chlorides, and chloride was but very slightly represented in the river waters at the present day.
From the examples of closed lakes they could determine the process of salinification with the utmost certain’}-. Throughout greater or shorter periods these lakes had been receiving the waters of rivers bringing down both mechanically suspended sediments and chemically dissolved salts, silicates and carbonates. The sediments were precipitated over the bottoms of the lakes, and the water being carried off into the atmosphere in the form of vapor as far as it entered, left behind the dissolved ingredients. These necessarily augmented in quantity, and ultimately the waters of the lakes became saturated with salts and carbonates, which were then deposited. The ocean was a closed lake of enormous magnitude, and they were thus brought to the conclusion that the saltness of the sea might have originated in very much the same way as had that of the Dead Sea, Lake Oroomiah or the Great Salt Lake of Utah, a*” many others which possessed in common the characterise’ having no outlet.
When the great envelope of vapor which surrour candescent globe began to condense upon its c the resulting waters, though containing, as supposed, acid gases, were destitute of sa process of salinification began with the tered the seas from the bordering up’ ried on throughout the long ages brought the waters to a cond forms of inhabitants reptile wean at the present posed to include, no that during whh over the inc.”