The scientific phenomenon of the immixibility of salty sea water and fresh river water as stated in the holy Quran.

More than 1,400 years ago when the Quran was revealed it disclosed to the world the incredible phenomenon of the immixibility of fresh river water and salty ocean water. Let us read to find out the views of modern science on this very important subject.

The above topic is being discussed in the context of four ecosystems where the above phenomenon has been observed to occur.

The first ecosystem is a fjord formed some three hundred million years ago during the ice age. A fjord is a narrow arm of the sea that extends for miles inland. During the ice age huge and massive chunks of ice would slide from the mountain toward valleys. Their massive weight would cause the ice to sink into the soil of the valley, thuscreating a long and narrow crator, far below the sea level. As the heavy ice ploughed through the soil in the valley on its way to the sea its terminal end would slow down till it came to a stop. The result was that the upper and middle parts of the long and narrow crator wasdeep, while the termimus was shallow. With time the large chunk of ice melted paving way for the sea to rush inland and fill the narrow and long crator. Fjords are charastically U-shaped with steep rocky walls having thick woods and roaring water falls. The water fall may not necessarily be due to a river, but may be due to waters from melted ice. When the sweet waters of the river water descend, into the sea water thephenomenon of the immixibilityof river and sea water is observed to occur.

The river water falling down into the ocean water below, under,gravity,first sinks below the surface of the sea water and then rises to the top to form a layer of fresh water. This is due to the fact that the upper layer of fresh water is less dense than the waters of the sea below. In the instance of the Fjord formed near New Zealand’s national park, scientists have observed that the upper fresh water layer is 10-12ft deep (3.1-3.7m) ,while the rest below is sea water. The upper and lower layers are occupied by marine lives best adapted to the sweet and saline waters respectively.

But the margin between the two layers can move up and down respectively. During periods of scanty rainfalls when the amount of water falling down over the steep cliff reduces, the upper river water reduces in height and the level of the sea water moves up. By so doing it traps some of the marine lives best adapted to rivers. During heavy rains, when abundant water descends into the sea below the amount of water in the upper layer increases ,Thereby shifting the margin down. Marine lives trapped in the salty water quickly swims up to escape the salty water where they are not best adapted.

One factor responsible for their immixibility is that, being protected from the incoming sea waves  by the narrow and long arm of the Fjords, the waters do not mix hence keeps the two layers as they are.

Another instance where river and sea waters are found to be immixible is when glaciers melt in the mountains in very cold regions like Alaska. The cold and fresh waters carry with them sediments. When they meet the offshore waters of the salty sea waters in the gulf  they do not mix but flow, side by side due to the differences in salinity (salt level), water density and temperature differences between the two.(See fig 1).

The third ecosystem where this phenomenon is observed is in estuaries They are located at the margin of land where fresh water from forests meet the salty ocean waters . Salinity is observed to fluctuate. The water, at the estuary, is usually a mixture of fresh river water and ocean water (Brackish).When the tide is low the water at the estuary is nearly as fresh as the inland fresh river water. When the tide is high he water at the estuary is as salty as the sea water itself

Mangrove swamps are another example of an ecosystem where this immixibility of river and sea waters is observed.Mangroves are located at the point of transition from forests to the ocean and are marked by the growth of mangrove plants that are water resistant. Here as well salinity fluctuates from fresh water to brackish to ocean WATER

Let us examine the above observations in the light of the following Quranicverse . Quoting from the Holy Book we read:” And He (Allah) it is Who has caused the two seas (Bahrain) to flow, this palatable and sweet (river) and that salty and bitter (ocean), and between them, He has placed a barrier and an insurmountable partition ” (Quran 25:54) . The word Bahrain means two seas from the singular Bahr, meaning sea. But Bahr can also mean a large river (Nile) ,lake or large water body. Thus in the above quoted text the words “Who has caused the two seas to flow” can mean “Who has caused the river water to flow and the sea water to flow”, which is actually the true meaning . In this sense it is very applicable to the instance of the Fjord as explained above and equally applicable to where melted ice and waters from rivers flow into the sea to create an immixible barrier according to our above explanations. A barrier and an insurmountable partition has been used metaphorically to mean their immixibility.

There could be no evidence greater than the above that the Quran originates from the All-Knowing Allah.


River and sea water do not mix according to the Holy Quran and modern science.

Fig 1: The immixiblty of two seas


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