Seawater contains just about every element in some small quantity. The materials over 50mg/L is a shorter list.
For seawater and many brines, the order of deposition is:
- calcium carbonate
- calcium sulfate
- sodium chloride
- magnesium sulfate
- potassium magnesium chloride hexahydrate (KCl•MgCl2•6H2O)
- magnesium chloride
Once it has been concentrated, the brine is run through a series of crystallizing pans, usually four in number, where the salt is deposited as evaporation proceeds. In the first crystallizing pan, the brine is concentrated to a specific gravity of 1.23 and remains partly contaminated with calcium sulfate. The specific gravity of the solution in the pan increases slowly during crystallization of the salt, reaching 1.24 in the second pan. In the third pan the specific gravity of the solution reaches 1.25, and the salt deposited there contains small amounts of magnesium sulfate as an impurity. The final solution, termed bitterns, has a specific gravity of 1.25–1.26 and is used in some countries (United States and Israel) in the manufacture of potash, bromine, epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), and magnesium chloride.
Removal of sulfate and bicarbonate
- CaO + NaHCO3 → CaCO3 + NaOH
- Ca(OH)2 + NaHCO3 → CaCO3 + NaOH + H2O
- CaO + Na2SO4 + H2O → CaSO4 + 2 NaOH
- Ca(OH)2 + Na2SO4 → CaSO4 + 2 NaOH
Removal of calcium and magnesium
- (Ca/Mg)Cl2(aq) + (Na/K)2CO3(aq) → (Ca/Mg)CO3(s) + 2 (Na/K)Cl(aq)
This leaves sodium/potassium chloride/sulfate/carbonate in solution, which can be more easily separated by crystallization
- Hills, John M.; Wood, Frank Osborne (2019)
link courtesy Encyclopedia Britannica.