Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's Word is...

...Methane.

Methane is the simplest of the hydrocarbons. It is one carbon atom surrounded by four hydrogen atoms. It's description is reminiscent of iocaine powder: odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It poses no known health risks other than the possibility of it displacing oxygen, and its tendency to burst into flames at high enough concentrations (between 5 and 15%).

It can even dissolve in water. The water becomes cloudy with the dissolved methane, but is safe to drink. Just so long as you don't go swallowing lit matches.

And a certain community in Colorado has enough methane in their groundwater, thanks to a nearby methane pumping field, that they can set their tap water (pumped in from a groundwater well) on fire as seen in this video.

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