The Science Behind The Baltic And The North Sea Not Mixing

why two seas dont mix

The picture from the Gulf of Alaska became trending on the internet for the last few years because of its speciality in not mixing of the two seas.

To know why this is happening,we must have to know why Water and oil dont mix and similiarly why salt water and fresh dont mix easily?

Why Oil and Water Don’t Mix

Every one knows why oil and water don’t mix,because when oil is poured into water there will be formation of thin film between them.The reason is oil has low density than water and so oil floats on the top of water.Water molecules are more attracted to them than oil because water molecules are polar where oil molecules are non polar and hydrophobic(water fearing).

why two seas dont mix

Similiarly When petrol is mixed with Water,one can observe petrol appears colorful when contacts with water and this is due the thin film between the petrol and oil.The film is so thin,the distance between its top and bottom is enough to approach the wavelength of visible spectrum.The petrol is a kind of reflective in nature,so when a light enters them some part will be reflected and some will be transmitted into the water’s bottom where it is again reflected produces two different kind of rays reflected back to the eye which are in two different phases.These phases will interface each either destructively or constructively or in between them to cause different colors to appear.Total destructive interface gives dark spot and total constructive interface gives bright spot corresponds to the thickness of the film of Oil(Petrol).

why two seas dont mix

This is the reason why we use detergent which can attaches with both water and oil molecules with its two ends because detergent has two ends,one is hydrophilic(attaches with water molecules) and the other is hydrophobic(attaches with oil molecules) and when these mixture is shaken,there will be formation of an emulsion,A stable mixture of two or more liquids that won’t mix.When this detergent used in washing,it attaches with oil and grease and lifts off into the water.

Main Reason

Then answer is simple for this question after going through the above matter,because the main reason is due to the difference between salinity(The concentration of dissolved salts in the water),densities in the two seas.North sea’s salinity is ~35%,an average for ocean’s water where the Baltic sea’s salinity is ~12% in comparison and this difference makes them not merging each other and the color can describe easily.Salt water takes longer time to mix because of its special chemical properties and the ionic charges keeps sodium and chloride separating from the fresh water.Some says that its not mixing of two oceans but glacial melting water meeting offshore waters of Gulf of Alaska.

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