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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Water – states of matter do matter

20 February 2018


In physics, these 4 states of matter are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Other states of matter only happen under extreme circumstances: extremely high cold, density, and energy. Wiki: “Some other states are believed to be possible but remain theoretical for now. For a complete list of all exotic states of matter, see the list of states of matter.”

In December 2016, scientists at Stockholm University reported that they “have discovered two phases of the liquid [water] with large differences in structure and density” between 50℃ and 60℃ (eg, ConversationFuturismInternational Journal of NanotechnologyQuartz, Science DailyStockholm University).

In November 2016, scientists at the University of Florida State and Edinburgh reported that water is stored in – and transported from – a stable high-pressure phase of the mineral brucite, far below the Earth‘s surface (eg, IBTNWNPhysPnas). Obviously, this discovery had – and still has – far-reaching consequences, like future human space travel.

On 24 July 2017, Brown University confirmed that while “using satellite data, Brown researchers have for the first time detected widespread water within ancient explosive volcanic deposits on the Moon, suggesting that its interior contains substantial amounts of indigenous water.” Also see reports by CNN, Express, Nature, Telegraph.

Early 2018, scientists discovered that NASA images of Mars reveal “layers of ice peeking out of eroded cliffs [] which start three to six feet beneath the surface [and] strongly suggest that they are made of water ice” (Nat Geo, 2018). Also see NASAUS Geological Survey, WaPo, and Wiki.

Before these discoveries, scientists assumed that other planets than Earth would not have water because their water had vaporized due to a lack of an atmosphere, like on Earth. Remarkably, the opposite appears to be true. Earth has lost much of its water due to the existence of an atmosphere. Water on planets without an atmosphere didn’t vaporize but turned into solid ice.

Furthermore, “NASA recently revealed new details about the oceans that lurk beneath the surface of Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s Europa” (Business Insider, Conversation).

In fact, “the Solar System and beyond is awash in water”, according to NASA in 2015: “Astronomers see the signature of water in giant molecular clouds between the stars, in disks of material that represent newborn planetary systems, and in the atmospheres of giant planets orbiting other stars.”

Water is more unique than we realise as it comes in 3 of the 4 daily observable states: solid ice, liquid water and vapor gas. Water also shows hybrid states like in a fog (gas/liquid) and snow (liquid/solid). Water stored in the volcanic mineral brucite shows what can happen to water under extremely high pressure. We may be in for a lot more scientific surprises about …….. water.

The Whole of the Moon (1985) by The Waterboys
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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