Underwater cups -- a puzzle piece

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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rjlittlefield
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Underwater cups -- a puzzle piece

Post by rjlittlefield »

A puzzle piece... Anyone want to guess what these are?

Stereo, cross eye. Frame width about 8.9 mm, shot as two stacks through about 1/4" of water.

Image

--Rik

Cactusdave
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Post by Cactusdave »

Looks like the sort of thing you'd find at the bottom of a thermal spring. A concretion of salt deposits and heat tolerant bacteria.
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

It does, doesn't it?

But I've been assured that no bacteria were involved in the growth of these structures. I think they don't have any significant salt deposits either, though that's a bit less clear to me.

--Rik

pierre
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Post by pierre »

Hi Rik,

Is it a kind of emulsion covered by a glass ?
Regards

Pierre

Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

I would suggest algae as prime suspect.

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Pierre, thanks for taking a shot.

These structures did form in contact with a liquid emulsion, but I'm unclear whether the solid forms shown here are emulsions also. Definitely no glass was involved.

The cup-like structures were originally covered by an opaque liquid. I first observed them when the liquid was drained. Then I rinsed them a couple of times with clear water and left them covered with a thin layer of water to eliminate distracting reflections during photography.

Harold, definitely not algae, but I agree that the appearance would suggest that.

--Rik

pierre
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Post by pierre »

Hi Rik,

Thanks for your comments and clarification.
Regards

Pierre

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Post by rjlittlefield »

To provide some more clues, I'll add that despite their dubious appearance these growths are commonly found in even the best kept households and present no health hazards whatsoever. :)

--Rik

Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

Sliced bread?

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Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

a sponge?

Nice 3D!

Wim

descall
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Post by descall »

Lime scale in the kettle?

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Thanks for dropping in, folks.

No bread or sponges involved here, except in the environment surrounding the subject. Not much lime scale either but that's definitely working in the right direction.

I'll add that the cups formed quickly, a few minutes at most.

Here is another view of the same structures, this time with a wider field and looking straight down.

Image

The cups were a "found" subject that I just happened to notice. I was intrigued by the 3D structure (thanks, Wim!) so I took some time to photograph them.

This morning I specifically tried to reproduce the cups using a simplified setup. The attempt was promising, but not entirely successful:

Image

I hope this helps!

--Rik

Peter M. Macdonald
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Post by Peter M. Macdonald »

Something with a film of grease which has been left soaking in detergant?

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Nope, no grease, no detergent. The cups were highly resistant to both water and grease-cutting solvents. They were not very strong, however: easily removed by rubbing with a plastic mesh pad.

--Rik

Craig Gerard
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Post by Craig Gerard »

Rik,

Do you eat oatmeal for breakfast and sometimes forget to turn the hotplate off in time?



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