Mixing Fresh and Salty

Earth’s oceans are a complex and dynamic environment, but fortunately, we can simulate some of their physics on a smaller scale in the laboratory. The time series of images above show how fresh and salty waters mix. On the right side of the image is fresh water with its top layer dyed green. On the left is salty water dyed pink. Initially, the fresh water spreads horizontally toward the salty region in a smooth and laminar fashion. As the fresh water picks up salt, it gets denser and starts sinking, ultimately forming a turbulent plume that will push all the way back across the tank. For more images, check out the full poster. (Image credit: P. Passaggia et al.)

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