Why the salty sea is so salty (073)

No less than 97% of water on earth is salt water, but not all salt water is equally salty. This might possibly have resulted from a quantity of botched up celestial soup. Naturally the cunning devil also played a role in this. Read on:

The angels did their very best to keep the chosen souls Peter had allowed to pass through heaven’s gates pleasantly entertained. Accordingly, this cuts out the day’s work for many an angel. But, needless to say, they did this with celestial pleasure and considered themselves fortunate to be able to see how all of heaven’s inhabitants eternally enjoyed themselves.

One particular event which everyone especially looked forward to was the annual feast. Everyone could say what he or she would really love to see on their silver plate. But as cooking individually for every celestial resident was of course impossible, the angels put together a few different menus based on the preferences given. Anyone thinking that exclusive dishes, haute cuisine and suchlike would be top of the list would be mistaken: every year the meals chosen were those people had loved during their time on earth. And while, of course, no dietary restrictions were valid in the afterlife, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and followers of other beliefs wanted nothing more than to tuck into a dish that was prepared in the way they were used to when they were on earth. In short: people simply wanted to enjoy themselves like they did in ‘the good old days’. So you can tell from this that celestial residents are not free from nostalgic desires…
Everyone who during his or her earthly life had proved themselves as excellent cooks, professional or otherwise, were invited to register as candidate cooks. Then the angels selected who was allowed to take place behind the stoves.
All the cooks were assisted by the angels who flew to earth to collect the necessary ingredients: different kinds of meat, fish and tofu, nuts, vegetables, herbs, onions, garlic and artichoke among others.
This year once again the soup was to be prepared by a little granny from a small French village. She had been the driving force behind a small local tavern where, apart from bread and cheese, only soup was on the menu. But that soup was so extraordinarily delicious that people came from far and wide to taste it. And after the first time she had been invited to make her soup in heaven, nobody wanted another cook making the starter. When the day of the annual feast dawned, this granny together with her assistants were already busying themselves in the kitchen, preparing the soup in enormous pans out of which the most delicious smells were soon escaping.
These tantalizing smells were noticed in places far away from heaven and were even picked up by the devil himself. They made his mouth water! Naturally, he’d not been invited to the meal – the devil simply doesn’t belong in heaven. He could not bear it that he was not able to enjoy the celestial food and begrudged anyone who very shortly would be starting this splendid meal.

On retrospect, everyone was astonished how the cunning Satan pulled off his ruse, as nobody saw it happen. Taking advantage of an unguarded moment, he tipped heaven’s entire supply of salt into the soup! When the celestial residents took their first sip of the granny’s soup, they immediately spat out the now revoltingly salty concoction. What was to be done with the gigantic pans of far too salty soup? Standing on some clouds, a few strong angels tipped it away, down into the water below without watching where the soup landed. So that is how the salty seawater became even saltier.

Salt and other minerals are released through the erosion of rocks in the earth and are carried down by rivers into the sea. Volcanoes also carry a lot of salt into the sea.
Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the earth. Have you ever thought about the importance of the seas in our lives? We are totally dependent on the life in them. Oceans not only determine the climate and the rainfall, but also oxygen production. In fact half of the oxygen on earth actually originates in the sea. Shallow seas, such as the North Sea, play an important role in this. Most of the phytoplankton grow in these shallow waters forming not only the basis for the sea’s food chain, but is also responsible for producing the largest amount of oxygen.
Approximately 40% of carbon dioxide, C02, is absorbed annually by the sea which reduces the speed at which the earth warms up. Algae and plankton likewise play an important part in this. Plankton thrives best in relatively shallow seas and absorbs the carbon dioxide. When plankton dies, it takes the carbon with it to a deeper level of water from where it flows in the current into the ocean.
Shallow coastal sees are equally the most important breeding nurseries for fish. The Dutch Wadden Sea and shallow North Sea are teeming with young fish that are dependent on plankton. The North Sea contains more than ten million tons of fish. Overfishing has placed various species on the danger list. For this reason the European Union has determined fishing quotas which have resulted in there being more fish again. Nevertheless, overfishing is still happening.
The North Sea is home to an enormous range of animals: as well as fish and shellfish, mammals such as seals, porpoises, whales and dolphins live there. The North Sea is at least as important to birds whose lives revolve around it most of the year. But it is also essential as a nutrient rich stopover site for birds migrating south and as an area for birds staying to overwinter.
The waters of the North Sea are murky because of the rivers which flow into it, carrying, amongst other things, silt and nutrient rich water.   


© Els Baars, Natuurverhalen.nl

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Els Baars