Geologic History

How Minerals Make Your Water Hard in the UK

how-minerals-make-your-water-hard-in-the-ukA major part of the United Kingdom receive hard water. It occurs due to the abundance of sedimentary rocks in the entire UK. This accounts for about 13 million households in the country. Rainwater that fills boreholes, reservoirs, rivers and streams where water supply come from is naturally soft. But since water is a very good solvent, it erodes parts of soft rocks like limestone and chalk, picking up the magnesium and calcium mineral contained in the rocks. These and small amounts of other minerals make for hard water.

There are some parts in the UK that do not receive hard water, though. Due to the regions’ geology, what they have is soft water, such as the regions located to the west and north of the UK. The development of wider networks of water distribution however, there are parts of the UK that formerly get soft water, now are supplied with hard water.

Hard water map

Lincoln, London, Brighton, Bristol and Southampton, including parts of Birmingham have hard to very hard water. Manchester and many parts of Birmingham as well as Newcastle upon Tyne receive slightly hard to moderately hard water. The rest of the country generally receive soft and moderately soft water. The abundance of soft rocks in several areas of the UK is what contributes to the water hardness in the country. Those areas with hard rocks are also the areas that receive soft water.

The concentration of multivalent cations (positively charged metal complexes) determine the hardness of the water. Most common minerals found in the water are magnesium bicarbonate and calcium bicarbonate. These minerals contribute to the temporary hardness of the water. The application of  a water softener removes these minerals from the water you use. These can be removed by boiling the water also.

There are other minerals, such as magnesium sulphate and calcium sulphate that make the water permanently hard. You’ll know your water is permanently hard when these minerals are not removed from the water by boiling. Just like the temporary hardness, it can also be removed by using water softeners.

Health benefits of hard water

Even very hard water is not harmful to health. The minerals in hard water, such as calcium and magnesium are beneficial to health. Hard water sometimes receive a bad rap. However, consider these benefits:

  • The mineral content in hard water supplement your daily dietary needs.
  • Hard water is better tasting than soft water.
  • Minerals in hard water reduce the solubility of some toxic metal ions such as lead and copper.
  • Pipe corrosion occurs more in areas that receives soft water.
  • Toxic metals such as cadmium and lead are easily dissolved by soft water.

Hard water solution

The main solution recommended for hard water is to use a water softener. Ion exchange is the process that is employed when using water softeners. This means that calcium and magnesium are replaced by sodium. Water softener is slightly more expensive than water conditioner, but it also provides the advantage of treating small amounts of other metals found in hard water, including zinc, iron or copper. Water softening unit uses sodium chloride or common table salt to change the mineral ions into sodium ions.

Also read: The Artistry Evolved From Primitive Age

The Artistry Evolved From Primitive Age

The history of Geology is as ancient as the life on Earth, but it has been a matter of interest to humans only back in the 4th century. It was after Aristotle observed the evolution of rocks and minerals, the scientists and philosophers started to learn and mine certain crust around the 5th century. Geology, as a separate branch of science, was developed in the late 17th century. The geologists from various academies started to investigate every layer of earth and stop at every stone to find the fossils embedded within the Earth.

Rock Art is the term used by a number of historians over years. They are images embossed, carved or furrowed on a rock surface and are used to convey messages before writing has originated. They are simply the markings on a natural stone, according to archaeology, and this “rock art” is divided into the sub-disciplines in the late 19th century, like petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are the carvings reflecting the Stone Age, while Pictographs are drawing or paintings on rocks.

seamounts-gravityDeriving from pre-historic times, these stone pecking is created by the ancestors of Pueblo people who lived in the Rhio Grande valley before A.D.500. These powerful cultural symbols reflect the tribal society and their ceremonies. Each carving relates to a known or unknown context which is extremely important, orienting the sphere or scenery. Some petroglyphs have meanings that are known only to its master while others are contemporary designs of religious existence, sceneries or any area and are honoured for its origin.

A pictograph, by the name itself, expresses the prehistoric abstracts in paintings or images on a rock. They are carefully arranged to convey messages, for example, paintings of animal hunting or wild animals of that era. These served as the pioneer for information about the ancient civilization and their habituates. The art forms are engraved in almost every cave that can be interpreted as the primitive symbols of hunting.

Read More: A Little More About Mohs Hardness Scale

A Peep Into Nature’s Precious Creations

Mineraloids are not true minerals as they lack crystalline structures. They do not have a perfect formula and are inorganic naturally forming solid without the cleavage property. Abmer, Jet, Obsidian, Pearl and Pumice are some of the good examples of mineraloids. They are formed after the rapid solidification from a melt, where the constituents fail to develop an ordered atomic structure. They are formed by volcanic traits, Obsidian, for example is a randomly formed network of volcanic glass.

Mineraloids can be even from the galaxy of stars. Tektites and Moldavites are some among the outer space materials to the earth formed as a result of an asteroid or comet. They collide with Earth at very high velocity generating a large mass of energy. The explosion melts the rock into a stream of molten material, extending the molten to wide landscapes. As the temperature falls, it solidifies quickly and gives out amorphous pieces.

The Libyan Desert glass is believed to be yellow, is originated from a desert environment due to the lighting. Enormous spaces of deserts were flash melted with lightning strikes and they rapidly congeal as amorphous silica producing glassy textures. The Moldavites are also from the flash-heat phenomena and are found in the Eastern Europe. They amuse the geo-travellers and collectors with its beautiful green colour, and the clear stones can be modified as a gem.

opal_from_yowah_queensland_australia_2-300x200Organic mineraloids like Amber, found on sedimentary rock clusters, is actually the fossil plant resin. Another gem is the Jet, which is the rare black coal has a polished bright texture and are often cut into gemstones. The geologists are still searching for the evidence for Radiolarians and diatoms to be considered under mineraloids or not. The teeny-weeny creatures having thin amorphous shells sinks under the grounds cumulates to form sediments called ooze which eventually results in these organic solids.

Mineraloid environments are created beneath the earth’s surface where temperature and pressure are low. Materials like chrysocolla, limonite and opal freeze from gels and moulds to form minerals at favourable heat and temperature zones in the long run. Water and Mercury are also categorised as a natural inorganic substance which on modification changes to water ice and supercooled mercury.

Read More: The Journey To Collect Minerals