Water. It’s essential to life on our planet. But did you know how weird water is? In this series we are looking at the peculiarities of H2O. In Part 1, we showed that floating ice makes life possible. Today we will look at freezing and boiling temperatures.

Generally, the lower the molecular weight, the lower the heat of fusion and vaporization (the temperatures at which a chemical freezes and boils). On Earth, most chemicals with low atomic weights exist naturally only as gases because their boiling temperature is much lower than normal temperatures on our planet. Water, however, because its molecular configuration, has a very high heat of vaporization and a high heat of fusion (in relation to other chemicals with low atomic weight). This means that all three states of matter of water can be found on Earth’s surface, enabling the hydrologic cycle (we’re talking rain and snow) to function.

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