What causes ocean salinity?

Salt in the ocean comes from two sources: runoff from the land and openings in the seafloor. Rocks on land are the major source of salts dissolved in seawater. Rainwater that falls on land is slightly acidic, so it erodes rocks. This releases ions that are carried away to streams and rivers that eventually feed into the ocean. Many of the dissolved ions are used by organisms in the ocean and are removed from the water. Others are not removed, so their concentrations increase over time. 

Other important sources of ocean salinity are:

Hydrothermal fluids: Comes from vents in the seafloor.  The heated water is released through vents in the seafloor, carrying the metals with it. Some ocean salts come from underwater volcanic eruptions, which directly release minerals into the ocean.

Salt domes: These domes, vast deposits of salt that form over geological timescales, are found underground and undersea around the world. 

Further Reading:

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