Mind Blowing Facts they never taught you in school- Part 5 (Water)
What would you do if I were to pluck you out of the earth and drop you in a planet governed by the tyranny of dihydrogen oxide?
A tasteless, odourless compound that doesn't usually get upset, but when disturbed, depending on it's state, could either boil you or freeze you. Or if you were to introduce certain organic molecules to calm its tits down, immediately it would turn into an acid so vindictive, that it'd melt your face to the ground right in front of your eyes. Along with your eyes. And that is just what it can do on its own. If it brings the cavalry, oh no no, aint no goddamn army gettin' through That mother!
This is how nasty Water is.
Our relationship with water is strange, to say the least. It is formless, but we marvel at the idea of staring into the sea. It is transparent, but we can't afford to miss the wondrous spectacle of sunshine reflecting off of it. It is tasteless but our bodies start rebelling when deprived of a few drops every couple hours. We know that it is murderous as f*ck, responsible for thousands of deaths every year and we still cannot wait to get our asses floating and hopping in it.
Here's a list of facts that would amaze you at the least. At most, it would get you to buy a picture of a river, frame it and worship it.
- Most liquids contract by 10 percent when frozen. So does water, but only upto a certain point. Seconds before it is about to freeze, it goes bananas, absolutely bonkers! It starts expanding. It is almost as if you are roasting chicken and right before the colour starts showing, it jumps out of the oven, gives you one firm kick in your shins and drops back into the oven. By the time water completely freezes over, it's volume becomes 110% of the original.
- If water didn't behave in this outrageously bizarre manner, ice bergs wouldn't float. They would sink right in, oceans would freeze bottom first, making it impossible to conserve heat like they do in their surface first approach; the heat would then begin to evaporate leaving the water colder, and this would then give rise to a cycle of death. Slowly all of earth's heat would radiate away freezing your ass all the way to the Lord's lap.
- Water molecule is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. This molecule is gregarious and perverse like no other playboy you've ever known. It engages in a casual one night stand(make it one nanosecond stand) with another H2O molecule then moves on to a different partner, and while we humans write articles on coping with break ups, it engrosses in this orgy billions of times in a second.
- You would think it is a sin of the highest order but it actually supports life. This is how water molecules can stick together tight enough to form lakes and pools, yet loose enough to give way when you jump.
- This bond is pretty strong. In fact this is what creates surface tension and allows insects to walk on water; the fact that these molecules prefer to bond with molecules of their own kind instead of molecules of the air.
- When I ask you define atmosphere you'd come up with names of troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, ionosphere and whatnot, all this time thinking what a smart cookie you are. Did you know oceans are also considered part of the atmosphere? Smartass!
- Water is extremely good at holding and transporting heat, and it does, which has great effects on the overall climate. But oceans are not uniform in their temperature, salinity, density etc. and that is a good thing. For example the Atlantic ocean is saltier than the Pacific; saltier water is denser and denser water sinks. If it wasn't so, Atlantic currents would have advanced to the Arctic warming up the North pole and leaving Europe cold as f*ck.
- Oceans soak up huge amounts of carbon. Did you know the Sun is now 25% hotter than what it was during a younger solar system? The results would have been cataclysmic to say the least, had there not been teeny weeny marine organisms who capture the atmospheric carbon to make cute little shells. This way they prevent the carbon from being recycled to the atmosphere which would eventually trap us in a global greenhouse effect. Of course these little guys get their reward; when they die, they fall to the bottom of the sea, and water pressure compresses them to limestone(The White Cliffs of Dover in England is but a remarkable mound of expired animals). BTW, a six inch cube of Dover chalk contains over a thousand liters of compressed CO2. All in all, there's twenty thousand times as much carbon in the earth's rocks, as there is in the atmosphere.
Although we as humans are doing our best to release as much carbon in the atmosphere as possible. How dare these puny organisms help us stay alive?!
- Oceans have vents. There, I said it.
Have you ever stopped to think that millions of gallons of saltwater evaporates everyday, isn't that supposed to leave the remaining water saltier? How do seas not gradually grow saltier? The answer is the first line of this point.
Colossal amounts of heat and energy flows from these vents. Water coming out is 760 degrees F, while just a few feet away, water temperature is 2 or 3 degrees(That is because these vents are WAY deep into the ocean, no warmth there silly!) As water approaches the crust of the earth, the heat clobbers the salt out of it, and this warm clean water is blown out again through these vents.
This is an alvinellid worm. And it lives on the edge. And by edge I mean even edge isn't as much on edge as the alvinellid. Edge is its A game.
It was thought that no complex organism could live in water hotter than a hundred and thirty degrees. Then this guy showed up.
It lives reaallyyy close to the super hot vent. And since it is about 10 centimeters long, the temperature difference between its head and its tail is a hundred and forty degrees. Not only did it surpass the threshold for heat tolerance, it's ass is colder than Islamic State militants.
Referenced from Bill Bryson's book- A short history of nearly everything.
For more amazement!
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