Natural brines are waters with very high to extremely high concentrations of dissolved constituents—elements, ions, and molecules. Brines are commonly considered to be those waters more saline, or more concentrated in dissolved materials, than sea water (35 grams of dissolved constituents per kilogram of sea water). Brine can contain salt concentrations more than five times greater than the salt content of average sea water. Natural mixtures of brines, sea water, and fresh waters occur at various locations.
Formation of Ocean Brine
- Concentration of dissolved constituents through evaporation;
- Retention of dissolved materials through membrane filtration by clay and clay-like minerals;
- Deposition of solids such as halite, dolomite, and anhydrite from the waters;
- Solution of other minerals from adjacent sediment or rock;
- Exchange of cations (positively charged ions) between water and solids;
- Bacterial and other organic processes; and
- Other chemical processes.