Sea salt is sea salt, which is formed by the evaporation off of seawater into the sea. It’s frequently used as a preservative in cooking, baking, cosmetics and even for preserving food. It’s also known as black sea salt or solar salt. Like most mined minerals, production of sea salt goes back to prehistoric times.
Salt rocks have been excavated near the coasts of many countries since the beginning of recorded history. During the early years of Mediterranean trade, salt was traded for other products including spices, pottery, leather goods, textiles, and metal implements. In those days, salt was not harvested from the ocean itself, but rather was harvested by draining ocean water and then gathering the salt water from the evaporating seawater on the sea bed. Today, modern technology and sophisticated equipment to help to preserve and expedite the harvesting of this precious natural resource.
The evaporating seawater (sometimes called sea water vapor) contains extremely high concentrations of sodium chloride. High temperatures caused by surface tension pull up the salt and then strain it into the porous crystalline structure of the mineral substance. The process is similar to what happens to oil when it is exposed to high temperatures. The brine tank, where the salt is drawn from, is heated and sealed to protect it from evaporation until the brine tank is opened again to allow the salt to evaporate into the sea water.
When salt evaporation occurs, a chemical reaction removes the sodium chloride from the seawater. The process of evaporation requires an extremely long temperature gradient within the seawater, which is caused by an external pressure change. This causes the salt to be pulled up from deeper areas in the water and transported higher into the upper regions of the sea.
There are three primary reasons that salt evaporation occurs. It can occur for a number of reasons, all of which have to do with the environment. First, high concentrations of dissolved organic substances (that includes sea salt) tend to attract larger particles of dust and organic matter. As these smaller particles pass through the water column, they mix with lighter water particles, which in turn combine with heavier particles to form larger, finer sand. As the particles move through the upper layers of the ocean, they gradually become lighter and heavier. As a result, they gradually fill up the spaces between layers of rocks and other materials, creating a sandy texture called grain.
Over thousands of years, sedimentary rock salt mines have been found in areas where traditional salt mining has not been successful. In these cases, rock salt from the sea bed has naturally driven up to the surface. There, it has mixed with larger clay particles and organic matter, leaving behind smaller briny sediments. These fine sands typically lack the magnesium and iron needed to make up the composition of regular salt so the fine-grained sea water, which contains trace minerals, is an excellent alternative to regular salt.
Salt can also be mined using a technique called open-pit mining. This method involves excavating an area that has sufficient salt to drive salt underground. The process of mining can cause some environmental problems, as the mine pits can leak into lakes or rivers, sometimes contaminating drinking water supplies. However, new technologies using ultra-fast vacuum technology to extract the salt from these open pit mines have greatly improved the environmental impact of this practice.
The third type of sea salt evaporation occurs when regular table salt and larger clay slabs are mixed together and stirred vigorously in water. As the mixture cools, it becomes much less dense and turns into a liquid solution known as sea water. It can then be further processed into a form that can be used for cooking and other applications. Unfortunately, this type of sea water does not contain the trace minerals that must first be processed to make up for the loss of minerals from the seawater, such as magnesium and potassium. In the case of cooking, however, the addition of sea salt or cooking salt can greatly increase the nutrient value of food, replacing the lack of minerals with beneficial substances.