Earth and Planetary Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



An experiment was designed to simulate the evaporation of sea water in the laboratory. The experiment was conducted isothermally at 35 1. Chlorinity, salinity, and density of the solution were determined at different stages of evaporation. Also the trace element contents of Sr, Rb, K, and Li of the precipitates were determined to study the possible changes, and the significance of these changes, in the concentration of these trace elements in solution at different stages of evaporation.

The results of this experiment and the work of previous investigators indicate that the rate of crystallization from sea water, at any given salinity and volume, depends on the rate of evaporation; the higher the rates of evaporation, the sooner the crystals appear. The sequence one obtains is somewhat different from that which Usiglio observed in 1849; the salinity of sea water being a controlling factor as well as the rate of evaporation.

The precipitates were divided into three zones according to the density and volume of residual liquid. In zone 1 the range of the density of the solution was between 1.1168-1.1800 gms/c.c. and the volume of residual solution was between 20-10% of the original volume of sea water. In zone 2 the density range was between 1.1800-1.2041 gms/c.c. and the volume of residual solution was between 10-5% of the original volume of sea water. In zone 3 the density was greater than 1.2041 gms/c.c. and the volume of the residual solution was between 5-0% of the original volume. The behavior of trace elements in these three zones can be described in the following manner:

Strontium concentration decreases from zone (1) through zone (3), while Mg concentration increases. Rb behaves irregularly; however, it seems to increase in the last two zones. Li appears to increase from zone (1) through zone (3). Comparison of these results with trace element contents of natural marine evaporites are made, in an attempt to evaluate some of the parameters at the time of deposition.

There is some evidence for the primary formation carnallite

(KMg . 0) and bischofite (Mg . 0).

Degree Name

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert Masakiyo Kudo

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

J. Paul Fitzsimmons



Document Type


Included in

Geology Commons