Water, we experience it every day; showering, cooking, drinking, cleaning, and producing-Food, Electricity, Electronics, and I could go on.

The over 7 billion Human Beings on this some 24,000 miles in diameter planet, make up a combined 4 billion gallons of water. Incredible, yet we consume billions of gallons per day.

Water is synonymous with life, providing the fundamental functions of all living organisms on Earth. It flows beneath our feet, within our hearts, and falls above our heads (sometimes not often enough!). Lets take a look into some of the amazing aspects of water.

SO MUCH WATER…WE CANT USE. With over 70% of the earth’s surface covered in water, only a fraction of that is fresh water, and a fraction of that small fraction is usable. 2.5% of the World’s water is Fresh Water, and 98.8% of that is stored in ice and groundwater. About .003% is contained in biological bodies such as you and me, and manufactured products. Our vast oceans and our Mediterranean Oasis wont help us here. YES, desalination is already in operation in parts of the world, but it’ is an expensive process that consumes more energy than what results of it.

THE UNIVERSAL SOLVENT. An absolute Marvel of water is it’s ability to dissolve a large variation of molecules. Water dissolves more substances than any other known liquid. This is critical in aiding biological and chemical processes. When we consume food, water assists our digestive system in absorbing and transporting vital nutrients throughout our body. This is the same principle for Plants as it is for us.

IT FLOATS. Every other liquid becomes denser when it is in a frozen state, except for water. Water as a liquid has a density of 62.4 lb/cu. ft. in it’s liquid state, while ice has a density of 57.2 lb/cu. ft. Now imagine all the problems we would have if Ice was denser than water! Higher Sea levels, Artic animals would have a hard time, biological processes would be vastly different, and the seasons on Earth would be significantly less dynamic due the effects the Ice has on seasonal stratification . On the other hand, Titanic would not have sunk.

water surface tension picture

Surface Tension visible by the overflow of Water over the edge of the Glass

SURFACE TENSION. Ever notice that when you fill up a glass of water all the way to the top, a rim above the edge forms?  This phenomenon is known as Surface Tension. In liquids, molecules are so close together, that each one attracts the other in all directions, except at the surface, as there is no water above the surface to pull on the top layer molecules. Water particularly has a higher surface tension than any other liquid. This is why water droplets appear the way they are, and is extremely important to how biological cells absorb and transport nutrients.

Quasar Image

An Artists impression of the Quasar that contains the massive amounts of water.
Credit: NASA

ITS A STAR PERFORMER. Water is literally created by the birth of stars. When Stars are born, it is accompanied by a strong outward wind of gas and dust. When this burst of material finally impacts the surrounding area of debris and gas, shockwaves are formed that heat and compress the gas, and water is created in this warm dense gas. In 2011, Astronomers discovered a vapor cloud that contained 140 TRILLION times that of all of our oceans combined. I don’t think drought plagues that particular Black Hole it surrounds.

I’m going to go have a nice glass of water, and have a deeper appreciation for the truly amazing liquid of life water is.