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< Beachapedia:Factoid‎ | 2011‎ | 06

The Atlantic Ocean is Saltier Than the Pacific

"About 5 million years ago, the North American, South American, and Caribbean Plates began to converge. The gradual shoaling of the Central American Seaway began to restrict the exchange of water between the Pacific and Atlantic, and their salinities diverged. Evaporation in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean left ocean waters there saltier and put fresh water vapor into the atmosphere. The Trade Winds carried the water vapor from east to west across the low-lying Isthmus of Panama and deposited fresh water in the Pacific through rainfall. As a result, the Pacific became relatively fresher, while salinity slowly and steadily increased in the Atlantic." - quote from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution website.

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