Salt is the only mineral that people eat. It is the only dietary mineral that is a real mineral. Salt is composed of Sodium Chloride (NaCl) which is one of the necessities of life for man and animals. Salt comes from the sea and from solid layers in the ground is called rock salt.
Sea takes in dissolved matter from two Sources Rivers that enter it and volcanic activity on the seafloor. Rivers provide mainly ions from the weathering of rocks. Major ions are silicates, carbonates, alkali metals sodium, calcium and potassium. Seafloor volcanoes provide mainly hydrogen and chloride ions. Water loves both ions sodium and chloride can hold large amounts of them in solution. But when both sodium and chloride become concentrated enough they form as solid salt, sodium chloride and mineral halite.
Halite is the formal mineral name for crystalline sodium chloride. In chemical form, salt may refer to any compound of a metal or non-metal, so terms such as copper salts or magnesium salts refer to the chlorides, carbonates and sulfates etc.
Salt is used in every country for food preparation. In poor and non-industrialized countries, this is the principal use. But in heavily industrialized such as United States, consumption pattern is quite different.
Some mineral salts are also used as anti-caking agents in food products. It helps to improve texture of certain foods especially meats. It is also used as preservatives for canned foods and beverages and meat products. It might also be used for purifying water.
Salt is produced by controlled evaporation of seawater or from brines in salt lakes. Solar evaporation will eventually concentrate the salt to the point where it crystallizes on the floor of the pond. In United States, rock salts accounts for one-third of the salt produced. The remainder comes from evaporation of seawater and lake brines, and a small amount from salt crusts on dry lakes. Only United States produces about one-fifth of the world’s salt. United States Imports one-fifth of its needs from other countries, mainly from Canada and Chile. After United States, most of the countries produced salt from earth. China, Germany, India and Canada are the largest producer of salt after United States.