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Everybody knows the ocean is salty. But why should an inland lake like the Great Salt Lake be salty? To understand this, we have to know how lakes are formed and what happens to them.

Lakes result from the flow of water into low areas. Lake water comes largely from rainfall and melting snow. The water enters a lake basin through brooks, stream s, rivers, underground springs, and groundwater. Dissolved mineral matter is in the fresh water entering the lake. This dissolved mineral matter is obtained from the ground and from rocks in the area.

In places where the climate is dry, lakes lose water rapidly by evaporation. When the amount of water that flows into a lake is matched by come salty, and the saltiness increases with time.

Great Salt Lake is such a lake. The mineral matter there has been accumulating over the ages and it now contains over 20 percent mineral matter, most of which common salt. Because of the high salt content, only shrimp live in the lake. Great Salt Lake is more than 4,000 feet above sea level and is located in northwestern Utah.

The Dead Sea, which lies on the border between Israel and Jordan, is really another example of a salt lake. It is 1310 feet below sea level. The lake is fed by Jordan River, but it has no outle. This fact, plus little rainfall and high evaporation, cause the mineral matter to accumulate in the lake. It contains more than 24 percent mineral matter, one third of which is common salt.

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