Field trip! We're going to Padilla Bay tomorrow for a shore walk. /happydance!
Source: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/Images/Reserves/PDB.jpg accessed 17 August 2012
Source: http://www.wwu.edu/huxley/spatial/nwwgis/maps/padillabay.gif accessed 17 August 2012
One of the things that's so interesting about Padilla Bay is that it is an estuarine environment--it's where fresh river water joins the salt water of Puget Sound, so it's a transition zone between freshwater and saltwater.
Life at that intersection reflects aspects of both the sources that make up that environment.
I'll post pictures of any interesting littoral plants and animals that we come across on our shore walk.
Gwyneth Jones, an oceanography instructor at Bellevue College, has lots of fun and educational links and resources on her science division webpage.
"Ocean in a Jar (for fun): creating scented bath salts that resemble the sea" is printed on the bottom half of that PDF page.
It's a fun opportunity to create gifts for your friends, family, and clients, as well as products you can use in a spa-oriented practice--and learn a little ocean science at the same time!
And it's especially topical ( ☺! ) since we MTs are so closely involved with the skin and effects of topical products such as oils and lotions. Last year in Journal Club, we looked at the life-and-death importance of oil massage for infants in the developing world to help their skin protect them against infections and body heat loss.
Earth sciences, biology, and social science, among others, meet in this exploration of making topical products for the skin.
UPDATE, 19 August 5:33 PM PDT: I've gotten feedback that the link to her page does not work for everyone. I tested it, and because it works from my machine, I am not sure what I can do to fix it. I wonder if the fact that it's a PDF document is breaking it somehow?
I've reproduced the relevant section from her page here, as well, so that if the document doesn't work for you, you don't miss out on her recipe.
Ocean in a Jar (for fun)
I enjoy making bath salts, scented oils, lotions, etc for my friends, family, and self. I realized recently that the base recipe I use for bath salts creates "seawater"! (Lower salinity, unless you use a vat of the stuff, but most of the key elements/ions are in there.) Martha Stewart showed viewers a very similar recipe when she was on Oprah recently (though let's not get into how I know that, ahem, and she didn't draw parallels with oceanography for some reason...). My concoction, below, is a combination of recipes from "Natural Beauty at Home", by Janice Cox, plus some trial and error. You can play around with the proportions to suit your preferences.
Epsom salts, 1 cup - magnesium sulfate (MgSO4 ·7H2O) - available (cheap) in drugstore aches-and-pains aisle
Kosher salt or coarse sea salt*, 1/4 cup - sodium chloride (NaCl)
* You can substitute baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) and/or cornstarch (organic stuff), for some or all of the kosher/sea salt.
Vegetable oil, about 1/8 cup - almond, coconut, avocado, walnut, olive... - If only oil spills were vege oils!
Food coloring, a few drops - the kind you can get in the grocery store baking aisle in little bottles
Essential oil, a few drops (I use the pure, natural ones) - lemon, rosemary, lavender, rose, mint, pine...
Mix the ingredients together well, by shaking in a jar with lid or in a Ziploc-type bag. It will take a couple minutes of shaking to distribute the oils and color well. I like using a bag so I can work out some of the colored lumps with my fingers.
To use, add about 1/4 cup to running bathwater. It will keep a month or so in a closed container. Not edible, so keep away from youngsters, pets, etc. With vegetable oil added, you can also use it as an exfoliating, moisturizing salt rub (my sister-in-law the kickboxer loves it this way): Add a little water to a handful of the salts and then rub on damp body skin in the shower; rinse with warm water. Don't use it as a rub if your skin is broken out or sensitive, and don't use it on your face (too irritating).
Enjoy! ☺ Gwyn
Remember, Epsom salts and essential oils are not edible, so keep this mixture stored in a safe place where children and animals can't accidentally poison themselves by eating it.
Reading the recipe is pretty straightforward. There are a couple of technical terms I'll note, but we don't need to wait until we get around to discussing the chemistry in order to use the recipe.
Salinity is the measurement of how salty a liquid is. The Earth's oceans are not equally salty everywhere; here's a map of how much they can vary from one region to another.
Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/WOA05_sea-surf_SAL_AYool.png accessed 17 August 2012
By "elements/ions" she means the chemicals in different kinds of salt--there's the table salt (sodium chloride) that we're all familiar with, but there are many other kinds of salts as well.
Not all salts are edible, which is why there's a warning on the Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate).
We'll discuss the chemistry more later, but here at least, it looks like tomorrow will be a perfect day for going ahead with this activity in the meantime.
So I'm inviting you to take a little time to make some bath salts, following Jones' "Ocean in a Jar" recipe, and improvising with different oils that you like.
Have fun! If you hit on any combination you especially like, you're invited to share it with us in the comments.
Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_aUURo8ALyhE/SrO3LbfZhzI/AAAAAAAAAEk/X8MNZ_jkIdI/s320/bath_salt.jpg accessed 17 August 2012