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Chemical Changes Between Sea-Water and Oceanic Deposits1

    Naturevolume 51pages304306 (1895) | Download Citation



    THE numerous analyses of sea water by Forchhammer previous to 1865, and the later analyses by Dittmar, from samples collected during the Challenger Expedition, show that while the salinityi.e. the amount of dissolved salts contained in 100 parts of sea-water—varies greatly in different regions of the ocean, still the composition of these dissolved salts—i.e. the ratio of the constituents of sea-salts—remains practically the same in all the superficial waters of the ocean. Consequently, it is only necessary to determine the chlorine in a definite weight of water to ascertain at once the respective quantities of the other salts present in the sample. Dittmar's examination of the Challenger waters has, however, shown that lime is slightly, although distinctly, more abundant in samples of sea-water collected in greater depths than in those samples collected nearer the surface of the ocean, and Dittmar's tables showing the difference between the chlorine calculated from the specific gravity and the chlorine found by analysis2 point to differences in the composition of the sea-salts; but the observations are relatively so few, these differences so slight, so mixed up with observational errors, and so irregular in their geographical and bathymetrical distribution, that they cannot be said to indicate any general law other than a greater quantity of lime in deep water.

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    1. 1

      Dittmar, "Challenger Report on the Composition of Ocean Water, " " Phys. Chem. Chall. Exp.," part 1, p. 43.

    2. 2

      See Murray and Renard, " Challenger Report on Deep-Sea Deposits," p. 185. (London, 1891.)

    3. 3

      See Dittmar, op. cit. pp. 137–138 and 203.

    4. 4

      See also Comptes rendus, tom. lxxxiii. pp. 58 and 345 (1876). Note by Naudin and Montholon; also Sainte Claire Deville, Leçons sur la Dissociation, 1864.

    5. 5

      Irvine and Gibson, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin. p. 37, 1891.

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