Too Hot In The Hot Tub!

Listen. I know hot water, mainly because I am always in it. A new study reports the hottest water ever recorded 464 degrees C (867.2 F). That so hot the water is in the vapor-phase supercritical region (say three time out loud), basically somewhere between gas and liquid. But doesn’t water boil, i.e. go into the gas phase, at 99.97 degrees C? It does at 1 atm but at 3000 meters the increased pressure allows water to stay a liquid at higher temperatures.

Of course all of this reminds me of the classic SNL skit.

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

5 comments on “Too Hot In The Hot Tub!
  1. I wondered about this when I first read about it, dunno where, a few days ago. They made it sound like supercritcal water was almost unknown outside the lab. It seems like I heard that Iceland taps supercritical water for power generation, from more than a kilometer down. Maybe it was a test well or something, but I thought they were using it. Waaaay more energy in the stuff than yer plain ol boiling water. By the way, and mostly off topic, did you hear about the 800 degree soil and venting smoke in Ventura County? The LA Times article suggests the shallow oil field is responsible. I am very uninformed about such stuff, but I had never heard of an oilfield cooking off before. Even coal seams won’t burn unless they have access to air. What do you think? rb

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