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為什麼海水是鹹的? Why the Earth’s Oceans Are Salty

聽~海哭的聲音~
NOV. 30, 2020
Bruce E. Bagnell

文章難易度 4 顆星

 科普園地  4 分鐘閱讀

Bruce, Angela, Wesley

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Why the Earth’s Oceans Are Salty

First, the good news. Water, the source of all life on Earth, is abundant. Now, the bad news. Most of it is undrinkable. Ninety-seven percent of the water on our planet is salty and 2% is frozen as ice at the poles, leaving a measly 1% for people to use. How is it, you may wonder, that so much of the liquid water on our planet is salty?

首先,有個好消息。水 ―― 地球上所有生命的源泉 ―― 非常豐富。接著,有個壞消息。大部分的水是不可飲用的。地球上 97% 的水是鹹的,2% 的水在兩極結凍成冰,只剩下少少的 1% 供人們使用。你可能會想知道:究竟地球上怎麼這麼多液態水都是鹹的?

abundant [ əˈbʌndənt ] a. 豐富的,充足的 
measly [ ˈmizlɪ ] a. 少少的

Water is a compound of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom: H2O. When water on the Earth’s surface evaporates as water vapor, it picks up tiny amounts of two gases found in the Earth’s atmosphere, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. When this vapor forms raindrops, this “fresh” water is actually slightly acidic.

水是由兩個氫原子和一個氧原子組成的化合物:H2O。當地球表面的水蒸發成水蒸氣時,它會微量吸收存在於地球大氣中的兩種氣體:二氧化碳和二氧化硫。當這種水蒸氣形成雨滴時,這種「淡」水實際上是微酸性。

evaporate [ ɪˈvæpəˌret ] vi. 蒸發
vapor [ ˈvepɚ ] n. 水蒸氣
acidic [ əˈsɪdɪk ] a. 酸性的
acid [ ˈæsɪd ] n. 酸性物質

As it falls on the ground, the acid dissolves small amounts of mineral salts, which end up in the water, a process known as weathering. These tiny amounts of salts have built up for billions of years, producing our salty oceans. Volcanic activity also contributes to the saltiness of the ocean in similar ways.

當雨水落到地面時,裡頭的酸會溶解少量的礦物鹽類,最後流入水中,此過程稱為侵蝕。這些微量的鹽類已累積數十億年,造就了我們的鹹海洋。火山活動也以類似的方式促成了鹹海洋。

mineral [ ˈmɪnərəl ] n. 礦物質
weather [ ˈwɛðɚ ] vi. & vt.(使)(岩石、木頭等)風化/受風雨侵蝕(本文為動名詞用法)
saltiness [ ˈsɔltɪnɪs ] n. 鹹度

Why the Earth’s Oceans Are Salty

 

Most of us have accidentally gulped a bit of sea water and tasted its salt. You wouldn’t want that to happen while floating or swimming in the Dead Sea—its water is nearly 10 times as salty as that* found in the ocean! Only a few microbes can stand so much salinity. Still, all those minerals are supposed to be good for healthy skin. We can’t drink it, but we can still bathe and swim in it.

我們大多數人都曾不小心吞下一點海水並嚐過其鹹度。你不會希望在死海中漂浮或游泳時發生這種狀況 ―― 其水的鹽分幾乎是海水的十倍!僅有少數微生物能承受如此高的鹽度。儘管如此,所有那些礦物質應該都對健康的皮膚有益。我們不能喝它,但仍可以在其中沐浴及游泳。

gulp [ gʌlp ] vt. 大口地吃或喝 
microbe [ ˈmaɪkrob ] n. 微生物
salinity [ səˈlɪnətɪ ] n. 鹽度

Why the Earth’s Oceans Are Salty

 

死海小知識

死海(Dead Sea)位於約旦和以色列交界,是世界上最低的湖泊,也是世界上最深的鹹水湖、最鹹的湖,湖水鹽度達300%,為一般海水的 8.6 倍,因其鹽水密度高,任何人皆能輕易地漂浮在死海水面,但也要注意避免鹹水進入眼睛或口而造成不適。死海之所以稱為「死海」是因為其高鹽度使魚類無法生存於水中,但有細菌及浮游生物;也因為其高鹽度,所以水中富含大量的鎂、鈉、鉀、鈣鹽等礦物,(資料來源:科學 Online)

 

接著閱讀

秋葉啊秋葉!你為什麼這麼紅? The Annual Explosion of Color in Autumn
引人顫慄的黑板之音 One of the Worst Sounds in the World
移動的湯碗之謎 A Haunted Bowl of Soup

 

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