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Underwater cups -- a puzzle piece
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17426
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:02 pm    Post subject: Underwater cups -- a puzzle piece Reply with quote

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.



--Rik
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Cactusdave



Joined: 09 Jun 2009
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Location: Bromley, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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pierre



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 224
Location: France, Var, Toulon

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rik,

Is it a kind of emulsion covered by a glass ?
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Pierre
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
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Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest algae as prime suspect.

Hariold
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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pierre



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
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Location: France, Var, Toulon

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rik,

Thanks for your comments and clarification.
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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. Smile

--Rik
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
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Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sliced bread?

Harold
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Wim van Egmond



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a sponge?

Nice 3D!

Wim
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descall



Joined: 01 Oct 2011
Posts: 156
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lime scale in the kettle?
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.



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:



I hope this helps!

--Rik
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Peter M. Macdonald



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
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Location: Berwickshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something with a film of grease which has been left soaking in detergant?
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik,

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



Craig
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