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Name: Dean
Status: Student
Grade: Other
Location: CT
Country: United States
Date: May 2007


Question:
What is the white foam around rocks in fast moving rivers?



Replies:
Dean,

Foam forms when gases are trapped in water as bubbles and these bubbles are stabilized (do not readily burst). Many substances can cause the stabilization of air bubbles in water. Naturally occurring organic compounds, wastes dumped into rivers, detritus from river organisms - all of these can cause the bubbles to stabilize and not burst readily. It is not so much that organic compounds are present only in fast moving rivers. Rather, since bubbles form more readily in roiling water (where air and water are mixed because of the turbulence of the water) we get more bubbles formed in turbulent rivers and these bubbles are then stabilized by the presence of organic compounds.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)



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