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15 Main Elements in Ocean Water

by Fitriani

Ocean water holds elements that make the ocean the way it is. Some elements may cause the ocean to have its own distinctive smell and taste. However, some are more into giving the all the marine creatures the ability to survive and provide data for scientists to study the nature of the ocean throughout the years.

There are also more roles that the elements do which you can read in these 15 Main Elements in Ocean Water. All of the elements carry out their own roles for the oceans and their habitants.

1. Sodium

There are two elements that make the ocean water tastes the way it is, salty. They are Sodium and Chloride. But first, this particular one is about Sodium. The element often finds its way into the ocean through rocks that are located on land or around the ocean. Most of the time, the acidic nature of the rain would dissolve the rocks. It carries away the Sodium element to mix with the ocean water.

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2. Chloride

Chloride is an element that is found in ocean water through the same process as Sodium. However, Chloride can also be a result of pollution runoff that goes into the ocean. Together, Chloride and Sodium make up the 90% of element composition in ocean water. Chloride affects the level of salinity of the ocean. It often create a fairly stable saltiness for the water. Chloride along with Sodium are used by humans to make edible salt.

3. Sulphur

The next element is Sulphur. It is usually contained inside the rocks that are submerged in the ocean water. Sulphur is the element that gives the ocean its very unique smell. Marine algae such as the phytoplankton produce the dimethylsulphide. It’s very important in creating a uniform salinity in the water, blocks any harmful components from ultraviolet and also to deter any predators from consuming the marine algae.

Read more: Function of the Phytoplankton in Ocean Ecosystem

4. Calcium

This element moves inside the ocean water freely. Sometimes it creates a bond with other elements in the ocean water. Calcium is crucial in the for the growth of the marine ecosystem. For instance, it helps the coral reefs to make their own skeletons that contain the calcium carbonate. Hard shelled marine creatures such as oysters and crabs also need Calcium so their bodies can be tough.

5. Potassium

Potassium is necessary for the marine plants. Without it, the plants can’t grow to their full potential. The element is mostly abundant in the sediments of the ocean. To be specific, it mingles in with the sand that is located on the sea floor. Also it is also a common element in the Atlantic Ocean where the the water contains a lot of salt.

6. Magnesium

There is a lot of magnesium in the ocean. It has a huge share of the ocean water components right after Sodium and Chloride. The element also helps the coral reefs through the process of calcification. Magnesium contributes to the fact that sea water can be beneficial for humans. When you swim in the ocean water, the element will help in cleaning and soothing your skin.

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7. Gold

Gold does exist in the ocean water. It’s a valuable element but quite hard to determine its overall quantity. Gold is also so diluted in the water that people are still trying to figure out how to extract them. The extraction method would probably cost more than the gold itself. Currently the only way to get gold from the ocean is to mine the ones that are available in the bottom of the sea floor.

8. Boron

Boron is an element in the ocean water that marine plants also rely on. The element enables them to flourish. However, animals that eat the plants will not get boron inside their bodies. Boron also helps the plants to have the ability in increasing the quality of the ocean water.

9. Strontium

We can also find Strontium in ocean water. This element is important for researchers in their studies. It can tell us what past tectonic activity was like. Strontium is also found in the ocean sediment, particularly the deep water of the Atlantic Ocean.

10. Protactinium

Protactinium is actually a radioactive element. It’s a decayed material from Uranium. It’s toxic but the amount is not a lot in the ocean. However, Protactinium can last for a very long time. Scientists can actually study the ocean circulation through this element. The strength of the ocean circulation can be determined by how long the element can last.

Also read: Effects of Radioactive Waste in Ocean

11. Oxygen

Oxygen gets into the ocean water through the absorption of the atmosphere. It is also a product of the marine plants’ photosynthesis. Oxygen is mostly collected from the surface water. It can get into the deepest parts of the ocean water through the movement of the water.

Read more: Improtance of Oxygen in the Ocean

12. Carbon Dioxide

Plants are major contributors for taking in carbon dioxide into the ocean water. It is needed so the plants can carry out photosynthesis. Besides that, carbon is also easily absorbed by the ocean water as that what ocean waters do. They take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle.

13. Amino Acids

There are many Amino Acids in the ocean. Some of them are tyrosine, proline, isoleucine and many more. They are produced as a result of the decayed organic matters. The Amino Acids also contribute to the whole carbon cycle of the ocean as well as the energy cycle.

14. Phosphate

One of the reasons the ocean water contains Phosphate is due to the decaying matter. When marine plants and animals die, their body will fall then decay into the sediment of the ocean floor. Another reason would be from the fecal matter of the marine creatures. The ocean water will dilute this element which serves as the perfect nutrient for many plants.

15. Nitrogen

Nitrogen is also found in the ocean water in a similar way to Phosphate. As dead plants start to decompose, they release the Nitrogen into the water. It’s one of the most important elements in the ecosystem of the ocean. Nitrogen also helps marine creatures to have healthy soft tissues.

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The concentration of all these elements in the ocean water depend on their locations. No matter how little or how much the element exists in the water, it still creates a huge impact in the ocean environment.

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