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weird water

On Fri, 18 Jan 2002, Paul K wrote:
> You would think that water like that could only come out of a water
> softening setup like those that folks use in hard water regions to keep
> their hot water heater from getting its pipes blocked by lime deposits.  I
> wonder what kind of geological conditions produce water like that.

Well, since you ask...

I have the same sort of water, and there is at least one other area I know
of in the US that has the same kind of water.  The odd water composition
is produced through a natural process that works exactly like a man-made
water softener.

Many water-bearing sand or sandstone beds contain clay minerals and
zeolites.  When ground water moves through the sand or sandstone bed the
calcium ions in the water displaces sodium ions in the clay minerals and
zeolites.  Calcium that was initially in the water ends up in the rock.
Sodium that was in the rock ends up in the water.

That's a very common process.  In most cases there are other factors
working at the same time that restore calcium to the water.  Typically the
combined effect produces mineralized water with a high Na:Ca ratio, but
calcium concentrations that are still fairly high. The water isn't soft.
In a few cases there aren't other processes that add calcium back into the
water and the process produces very soft water with almost all of its
original calcium content replaced by sodium. That describes your water,
Cheryl's water and my water.

Magnesium is effected by the same process, and even more strongly then

Water like that is always ground water.  It's hard to imagine that there
are any aquatic plants adapted to live in that stuff.  The only question
is whether the plants fail for the lack of magnesium, the lack of calcium,
or the excess of sodium.

Roger Miller

In central New Mexico, with crisp mornings and dry sunny days.  Day after
day after day after day...