Water Transitions Essay

645 words - 3 pages

Brackish water is a fairly salty mixture of freshwater and sea water. It isunique in numerous ways and is a life giving ecosystem. To understand whatbrackish water is, a background should be known about its sources.First of all, there is freshwater. Out of all the water on the planet, only threepercent of it is fresh, and only one fiftieth of one percent is readily available.Freshwater is not pure in that it contains minerals and other particles. There arenumerous plants and animals that depend on freshwater for their lives. Humans areone of them. Seventy percent of the human body is made up of freshwater (744Headlam).Next, there is saltwater, or seawater. Seawater consists of fifty-five percentchlorine, and thirty-one percent sodium (Groliers). It makes up approximatelyninety-seven and two tenths percent of the total volume of the world's water, andcovers more than seventy percent of the earth's surface (Groliers). Sea waterdoesn't just contain hydrogen, oxygen, sodium, and chlorine; it also contains everynaturally occurring element. Although seawater has a fairly constant ratio of majorelements, salinity and seawater can fluctuate. Normally, the salinity is thirty-four tothirty-seven parts per thousand (ppt.), but on a particularly rainy morning, the salinitymay decrease to something as low as thirty-two ppt. (Stuller 29).The mixing of freshwater and sea water forms a third type of water, known asbrackish water. Brackish water can be found in a variety of mixing zones such asriver deltas, freshwater title marshes, estuaries, fjords, and in the middle of theocean(Stuller 30). To begin with, freshwater traveling towards the sea carries suspendedparticles. As the particles make contact with saltwater, an electrochemical reactioncalled flocculation takes place. The clay with a positive charge, and the sodiumchloride with a negative charge, combine and form a heavier particle that descendsto the bottom of the mixing zone and creates a layer of mud (Stuller 28). This is oneof the reasons that a mixing zone is a thriving ecosystem. A salt wedge...

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