Silly science question

At work we have a refrigerator where we keep large bottles of water so that people can get a drink at anytime and not become completely dehydrated. We actually keep the water in the freezer part—but it is not cold enough to freeze the water.  Twice, in the couple months I have been here, something very odd has happened as I went to pour myself a glass.  The water was liquid in the bottle, no hint of ice at all, but as I poured it, as soon as it hit the glass, it turned to slush.  Extremely weird!—to the point that I feel like I am imagining it.  So, here is my question, how does this happen? Liquid in bottle—icy slush as soon as it hits the glass?  (One time the bottle had been full prior to this and one time it was half full). 

On another note, I think I need to just carry my camera with me to work at all times, so that if it happens again I can document it.



  1. What you had was some supercooled water. Next question what is supercooled water. I learnt this concept when I worked in the antifreeze/automotive testing business. If you have water in an almost pure form(with few or even no salts and metals), and it is stored below the freeze point such as in any traditional freezer. The water will freeze and then super cooler which means it will maintain its liquid state until it is disturbed or say poured out. The science behind this is that pure dihydrogen oxide(water) has a freeze point of about -40°C and a melting point of 0°C. When you pour this water the the molecules crystalize and that forms the slush you see. This is a sign that the water is very pure. Good right, not so much be careful because pure H2O can actually dehydrate you because it is the electrolytes(salt and metals) that actually make hydratrion possible if you are not getting minerals from another source. It won’t hurt you (like the old weives tell says) but you should know that.

  2. fried noodles count, but probably needs to be a little more balanced than just that. even a fruit smoothe or V-8 will do. Also their is an article on humam smuggling on the AZ republic. Check if interested.

  3. Clare,

    The following is a web site I found with three amateur videos of this same phenomenon. It is at I thought you would like to see it happen to somebody other than you!

    As for your some of your mineral sources, the following is a list I found from I know that you have many limitations at your local, but maybe some of these things you can find.

    Calcium –
    Food sources: Low-fat and non-fat diary products, fish with bones, such as canned salmon; fortified food, including juice and soy milk; and some green vegetables, such as spinach.

    Copper – Food sources: Oysters, crab and other shellfish; liver, almonds and other nuts, lentils, mushrooms, shredded wheat and chocolate.

    Iron -Food sources: Beef, dark chicken meat, oysters, raisin bran, black strap molasses and prunes. Beans, soy and spinach are rich in iron, but also have phylates, which can cut iron absorption in half, this is why vegetarians are urged to eat more iron-rich food than meat-eaters. Vitamin C helps boost iron absorption

    Magnesium – Food sources: Whole grains, especially bran cereals, nuts and green vegetables, including spinach.

    Potassium – Food sources: Fruit (especially bananas and oranges), vegetables (especially potatoes) and nuts.

    Zinc -Food sources: Shellfish, beef, nuts, legumes and whole grains,.

    Washington Post

  4. All of those sources are good, the key is to balance them. Broccoli and spinach are the best I think, but who am I?

  5. Mary Anne- Loved the video. Thanks! See, I am not crazy or delusional which was the first thought when one sees water turn to ice (and there are tropical diseases that do and can cause delusions).

    Rick– I too like broccoli and spinach, perhaps not my all time favorite, but you don’t see much of them around here.

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