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Water Vs. Salt water

  1. Jan 5, 2009 #1
    oceanic water obviously has a higher salt concentration and is more dense than fresh water. What specific conditions keep these two from mixing? On discovery, I see underwater caves where salty and fresh waters don't mix. What's behind this? Should we integrate their schools?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2009 #2

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    They mix, but slowly, as different densities help them keep separated and the only process that takes place - diffusion - is slow and occurs only on the boundary between fresh and salty water. They will mix much faster when stirred, as the surface between both waters becomes much larger.
     
  4. Jan 5, 2009 #3
    How slowly is slowly?
     
  5. Jan 5, 2009 #4

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Good question, one that I don't know answer to. It will depend on many factors - difference in salinity, thickness of the layers, temperature. Probably minutes to years depending on the circumstances.
     
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