"Don't drink vinegar. Good in salad dressing...bad in your throat." - Claudio
Question #9 posted on 09/12/2003 midnight

Dear 100 Hour Board,
Is there some scientific reason that ocean water needs to be salty? If the oceans contained fresh water, how would the natural world be different (besides the obvious)?
- Quigley Down Under

A: Mr. Under,
According to EnchantedLearning.com, "As water flows in rivers, it picks up small amounts of mineral salts from the rocks and soil of the river beds. This very-slightly salty water flows into the oceans and seas. The water in the oceans only leaves by evaporating (and the freezing of polar ice), but the salt remains dissolved in the ocean - it does not evaporate. So the remaining water gets saltier and saltier as time passes."

As to how the world would be different, Salt might be a bit harder to come by, since much of it is mined from large salt deposits from the ocean. However, body-surfing on South Padre Island might be a bit more pleasant.
- Chloughmnphiet