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Name: marie
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

water is the only compound I know that expands while freezing. Why is it essential that it does to guarantee our survival? What are all the reasons why we would perish if this property was absent of water?

ALL the reasons? You're not paying us enough.

ONE big reason is that if ice sank, the oceans would be mostly solid. Why? sinking ice would fall to the bottom, never to be seen again. More ice forming at the surface would sink and add the the ever-growing pile. Eventually, most of the biosphere would be solid ice.

As it is, cold water sinks, but ice floats. When surface water cools, it sinks and mixes with the water below it, providing oxygenation throughout. Ice, however, doesn't accumulate on the bottom.

Pretty convenient, huh?

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

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