One-hundred fluid inclusions in Silurian marine halite were analyzed in order to determine the major-ion composition of Silurian seawater. The samples analyzed were from three formations in the Late Silurian Michigan Basin, the A-1, A-2, and B Evaporites of the Salina Group, and one formation in the Early Silurian Canning Basin (Australia), the Mallowa Salt of the Carribuddy Group. The results indicate that the major-ion composition of Silurian seawater was not the same as present-day seawater. The Silurian ocean had lower concentrations of Mg2+, Na+, and SO2-4, and much higher concentrations of Ca2+ relative to the ocean's present-day composition. Furthermore, Silurian seawater had Ca2+ in excess of SO2-4. Evaporation of Silurian seawater of the composition determined in this study produces KC1-type potash minerals that lack the MgSO4-type late stage salts formed during the evaporation of present-day seawater. The relatively low Na+ concentrations in Silurian seawater support the hypothesis that oscillations in the major-ion composition of the oceans are primarily controlled by changes in the flux of mid-ocean ridge brine and riverine inputs and not global or basin-scale, seawater-driven dolomitization. The Mg2+/Ca2+ ratio of Silurian seawater was ~1.4, and the K+/Ca2+ ratio was ~0.3, both of which differ from the present-day counterparts of 5 and 1, respectively. Seawaters with Mg2+/Ca2+ <2 facilitate the precipitation of low-magnesian calcite (mol % Mg < 4) marine ooids and submarine carbonate cements whereas seawater with Mg2+/Ca2+ >2 (e.g., modern seawater) facilitate the precipitation of aragonite and high-magnesian calcite. Therefore, the early Paleozoic calcite seas were likely due to the low Mg2+/Ca2+ ratio of seawater, not the pCO2 of the Silurian atmosphere. Copyright ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.