North Atlantic Kelp
Quantity - 1 lb.
The Importance of Kelp
An Excerpt from
by D.C. Jarvis, MD
"THE Advantages of civilization are many, but it has its disadvantages also. The lack of mineral bearing food is a major disadvantage. The composition of the human body, being mineral, it is of utmost importance that it should be maintained by the needed minerals. Ocean kelp furnishes such a maintaining agent.
Sea water is water only in the sense that water is the dominant compound. It is a most complex liquid, containing about 3.5 per cent of dissolved inorganic compounds. Kelp growing in the sea, converts these inorganic compounds into organic form.
Being the lowest portion of the surface of the earth, the ocean is the catch basin into which the chemical substances of every kind have been dumped by the many moving forces in Nature. Loose and transportable materials are either moved directly and swiftly, or indirectly and by degrees, downward to the sea. Particles are carried bodily by wind, watercourse, and glacier. Other substances are dissolved in water and transported to the sea, where they are caught as it were in a trap and made permanently available. Thus has the ocean become a reservoir of accumulated wealth in chemical materials which makes the resources of the land appear insignificant by compasrison.
This accumulation of useful materials is a direct challange to chemists. It seems safe to predict that coming generations will learn the inexhaustibility of the ocean's hoarded wealth and how to make priceless use of the complete assortment of chemicals it includes.
The surface area of the earth is 196,950,277 square miles. Of this area 70.73 per cent, or 139,295,000 square miles, are occupied by the ocean. The average depth of the ocean, is estimated to be 2.38 miles, while the greatest depth yet found is 6.7 miles, in the Philippine Trench near Mindanao. More than four fifths of the ocean floor is covered by water more than a mile deep. Two thirds of it is covered by water 2 ï¿½ miles deep.
We do not know the composition of the first primitive seas. We do know, however, that throughout the ages many forces have been bringing material to the oceans from outer space, from the interior of the earth, and from the land. Meteors or cosmic dusts arriving on the earth have seven chances out of ten of falling in the ocean. Numerous rock meteors as well as those of iron and nickel are found strewn on the bottom of the sea. Volcanoes have contributed much to the ocean, either directly or by dust thrown high into the atmosphere, to be carried by wind over the ocean and brought doivn by rain. Submarine fissures and springs bring materials from the interior of the earth. Glaciers rasp out rocks, mud, and debris and, when they arrive at the shore yield icebergs to drift to sea, where they melt and drop their cargoes of minerals.
Perhaps the greatest and most continuous addition to the ocean is carried by water. It is estimated that about .82 meter depth of water evaporates on the average over the whole ocean each year. This vapor, which is pure water with no minerals, rises in the air, is blown about the earth by wind, and is precipitated as rain. If we assume that 29.27 per cent of it falls on land, there is then 22 inches of rainfall over a11 the land of the earth. This water erodes and washes away the soil, which is carried as mud and silt down the brooks, creeks, and rivers back to the ocean. Part of it seeps into the ground to some depth, dissolving out soluble materials, issuing again in springs, geysers and artesian wells, and returning with its dissolved and suspended substances to the sea, where, again leaving its load of minerals in the ocean, it returns to the land for more. The most soluble substances go soonest and most completely. Whatever increases solubility also increases the impoverishment of the land and the enrichment of the sea. Among the most soluble compounds are the nitrates, the halogen compounds-the chlorides, iodides, bromides; also sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and others. The less soluble substances, such as silica or sand, and the clays, or alumina, are left behind. It is these less soluble materials which are now the bulk of our soil.
Various agencies assist the process of escape of minerals to the sea. Every stroke of lightning oxidizes some atmospheric nitrogen to nitric acid, which is carried down by the rains to the soil, where it dissolves some minerals as nitrates. Some of this is used by plants, and some of it is dissolved and washed away to the sea. The carbon dioxide of the atmosphere dissolves in rain water and increases the solubility of limestone. Large quantities of this are transported down the rivers to the sea. While the above substances are carried in vast quantities to the sea, all minerals are soluble to some extent, though some of them more slowly; silica or sand, alumina, phosphates, and the like are carried in small amounts but add up over geologic time to huge quantities. The agencies of erosion-wind, frost, exposure to changes of temperature and sunlight-all tend to aid the escape of substance from the land to the sea. Mountains and hills Slowly crumble, valleys are chiseled out, rocks disintegrate and decompose and are dissolved and washed away.
Man himself has been a party to the robbery of the land. The primitive forest, with its leaves, roots, and vines, held the soil in place and served to restrain the flow of water to some extent and to prevent direct erosion of the soil. Now that man has cleared away the forest and laid bare the ground, solid substance is carried away much more rapid than ever before. In more primitive times man returned sewage, wastes, and dejecta to the soil. Now he has become sanitary and discharges what came from the soil into the rivers, and eventually into the ocean.
Man is also digging iron, tin, copper, zinc, and others minerals from the ground, making them into automobiles, tin cans, buildings, and so on. Eventrially these are worn out discarded, piled tip in junk heaps, there to rust, corrode burn, dissolve, and wash away finally to the sea. Vast quantities of materials are destroyed by combustion as fuel or for disposal of wastes. All of the coal, most of the petroleum, and much of the products of forests are eventually consumed by fire. Their smoke and dust go into the air, their ashes are leached out by rain, the portable materials going to the sea.
The various materials, upon entering the ocean from the rivers, begin at once to take part in a vast milling of chemical changes, reacting, dissolving, precipitating, redissolving, being taken up by living plants and animals, going through the life cycle and being set free again. Almost every kind of reaction has a chance to occur because the ocean is forever stirred by wind, and currents horizontal and vertical, exposed to change of temperature, frozen and thawed, exposed to light of varying intensities and colors. As it now exists the composition of the ocean is the result of millions of years of these reactions. Everything that exists anywhere in the earth or above it finds its way at last into the sea. Every element necessary for life is present everyvhere in the sea. Sea water and healthy human blood have an almost identical chemical constituency.
In the sea there is and can be no deficiency. Every element necessary for life is present everywhere, and the living animals and plants of the ocean select what they require. Sea-foods are capable of supplying all the elements necessary in our foods, whether we know what they are or not. In seafoods the necessary elements not only have been selected and assimilated on the basis of the natural requirements of living tissues, but thet are stored and available in the form of a natural food in something approaching the proper proportions of the diet of man.
Chemists have known for centuries that in the vast ocean there are dissolved almost all the important chemical elements. It is estimated that each cubic mile contains about 200,000,000 tons of chemical compounds including elements like gold, silver, magnesium, aluminum, radium, barium, bromine, iodine, sulfur, and many others. With knowledge that the ocean serves as a mixing bowl for the mineral elements washed from the land, it is readily understood why marine plants and animals face no deficiencies. In time they take these mineral elements and assimilate them into organic combinations which are, in turn, needed by land inhabitants to prevent and cure deficiency diseases. Life reaches its richest abundance and its most varied forms in the sea. From small creatures invisible to the naked eye-teeming millions of them in a cubic inch of water-to the great whales, runs the animal life of the sea. Its tropical and semi-tropical waters are layer upon layer of life communities, starting at the very bottom of the sea and extending to the surface. "
The Importance of Kelp
An Excerpt from
by D.C. Jarvis, MD