Kitchen Oceanography


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Stratification and mixing

Ice cube in stratified water

Ice cube in stratified water (2)

What is needed to make this experience:

  1. Fill the jar up to 3/4 with cold clear water (from a fridge)
  2. Heat up water (close to boiling). You may add some ink to this water. We used red ink.
  3. Pour gently the hot water on top of the cold water
  4. Add an ice cube of colored water. We used blue ink.

The ice cube will melt but the blue water will stay at the interface between the hot and cold water. After some time small blue filaments will appear and sink to the bottom. This process is similar to "salt fingers" in the ocean, but here dye plays the role of salt.

See experience 7 of the PDF at (written in French).

A detail on the "colour fingers":


Ideas for other experiments

  • Taylor Columns
  • Surface gravity waves
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