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on the environment

You are here: Home / Environmental topics / Water / WISE Help Centre / Glossary definitions / Intrusion of saltwater

Intrusion of saltwater

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Saltwater intrusion is a natural process that occurs in virtually all coastal aquifers. It consists in salt water (from the sea) flowing inland in freshwater aquifers. This behavior is caused by the fact that sea water has a higher density (which is because it carries more solutes) than freshwater. This higher density has the effect that the pressure beneath a column of saltwater is larger than that beneath a column of the same height of freshwater. If these columns were connected at the bottom, then the pressure difference would trigger a flow from the saltwater column to the freshwater column. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saltwater_intrusion

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