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From icy roads to salty streams

Jackson, RB, EG Jobbágy, R Avissar, S Baidya Roy, D Barrett, CW Cook, KA Farley, DC le Maitre, BA McCarl, BC Murray
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
Journal Volume/Pages: 
102: 14487-14488

. 2005. . ,
For most of human history, salt was a precious commodity. People prized it for flavoring and preserving food and for use in religious ceremonies and burials. The Roman occupation of Britain peppered the English language with a legacy of salt. We retain those Latin links in words such as "salary" and "salami" and in place names like Greenwich and Sandwich, their suffix denoting a saltworks. Today salt is no longer precious. The U.S. mines ~36 million metric tons [1 metric ton = 1 megagram (Mg)] of rock salt a year (1). Eighteen million Mg is spread on paved surfaces for deicing, making winter roads safer for people and vehicles (2). However, once the salt dissolves, it washes into streams or soil and is forgotten. A new article by Kaushal et al. (3) in a recent issue of PNAS suggested that it should not be.

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