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Question about biology / atoms

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Cooky, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    Question: When a tree grows to weigh 10 tons, does the ground loose exactly 10 tons in an equal, pound for pound exchange?

    20200705_125235.jpg
     
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  2. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    Because with a giant sequoia, for example, weighing nearly 3 million pounds, you don't notice any of the ground missing.
     
  3. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    If it grew in water it might displace it's weight.
     
  4. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    Just the displacement of soil from the roots I think.

    if you notice trees that have fallen over it's the very flat disk shape that the uprooted roots take. I think the total weight is displaced over a wide surface.
     
  5. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Veteran Member
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    Trees, like most plants, gets their energy from the sun and nutrients from the soil. Their entire mass is not derived from the soil. In fact, more than 90% of their mass comes from photosynthesis.
     
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  6. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    That is...Amazing.
     
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  7. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    I notice that the wood of trees is close to 60% carbon, and we are made of much carbon... would it be safe to say that the sun is responsible for the construction of new carbon matter to form on earth? Thus slightly increasing earths mass through the sun's rays via life..?

    Carbon-based life - Wikipedia
     
  8. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Let's be more clear. 90% of the mass comes from the *air*. The carbon, in particular, is mostly from carbon dioxide in the air.
     
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  9. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    No, that is wrong. Carbon was formed in the core of a star that went through its entire cycle before the sun and Earth were formed. The carbon atoms themselves (except for a few gained or lost due to radioactivity) are the same since then.

    So, the carbon in plants comes from the carbon dioxide in the air. The carbon in animals comes either from other animals or from plants. Animals generally breath our carbon dioxide back into the air. And, when they die, a good part is released as by products of decay (again, into the air).
     
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  10. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    #10 Cooky, Jul 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  11. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Veteran Member
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    Our forests are carbon reservoirs. They sequester huge volumes of carbon. At least until will burn them down to make new space for cows and subdivisions.
     
  12. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    No, a tree doesn't grow only thanks to the energy povided by mineral in the earth in a pound for pound basis. It also uses mineral in water in addition to water itself as well as molecules extracted from the air to produce sugar to fuel itself. There is thus no direct coversion. I would also like to note that trees, like all other living things excrete waste in the form of vapor and minerals in the soil.
     
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  13. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    Carbon is indeed fairly unique in its binding properties, because it can assemble into massive molecules with a wide variety of other elements (though predominantly Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, all of which are plentiful on Earth).

    Organic Chemistry is a vast field of science that deals exclusively with carbon molecules and their interactions with one another, and has applications from medicine, molecular biology and genetics all the way to material science, industry (via Plastics) and energy production (via Fossil Fuels).
     
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  14. Left Coast

    Left Coast Aspiring Vegan Mosquito Slayer
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    What does that mean?
     
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  15. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Molecules exist in three dimensions. There is nothing particularly surprising that carbon enters into molecules that are not planar.

    For example, the water *molecule* is planar (because there are only three atoms in it), but the way that water molecules arrange themselves when ice forms is very three dimensional.
     
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  16. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    I think it's finally time for a few members to start doing remote science lessons in these forums -- the need is apparently huge!
     
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  17. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    @Tambourine hits the nail on the head. The unique thing that makes carbon so suitable for biochemIstry is "catenation": the tendency for carbon to form long chains -C-C-C-C-C.......

    Carbon can form 4 bonds, which is more than many elements readily do. It also happens that the bond strength of C-C, C-H and H-H are very similar, and the bond strengths of C-O and C-N are also not dissimilar. This allows carbon to form complicated compounds with H, O and N, involving chains or rings, without there being a strong tendency for them to decompose into something simpler.

    Long chain molecules are what you need to build biological structures, such as woody plant tissue (cellulose) or muscle (protein).

    The 3D bonding thing is not uncommon. Most elements that can form more than 2 bonds will from compounds in which the atoms are not all in a single line or plane. For instance ammonia (NH3) look like an umbrella with 3 spokes, basically the same as your carbon tetrahedron but with one vertex missing.
     
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  18. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    It means that carbon (C) easily bonds to other atoms to create 3-dimensional shapes.
    geometry-methane-model-distances-bond-angles.jpg

    ...There are an abundance of other elements, which don't do that, and end up looking like:

    h2o-molecule-model-JFF9F4.jpg

    Because with h2o, you can never have a 3-dimensional snowflake, because the molecules are not 3-dimensional -they're pancake shaped, two-dimensional. But with 3-dimensional molecules, stacked on top of each other, we can have things like DNA and trees that can grow in every direction -not like flat pieces of paper.

    Hydrocarbon - Three-dimensional structures
     
    #18 Cooky, Jul 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  19. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Um, look at ice. It is a three dimensional crystal. Those water molecules can turn in three dimensions and, in doing so, find better configurations than the two dimensional arrangements.

    In fact, the angle between bonds in water is close to that between bonds in methane. The reason is that there are two *filled* orbitals in the oxygen of water. Those orbitals can still do hydrogen-bonding between molecules in a three dimensional structure.

    And, don't forget nitrogen: ammonia is three dimensional. Silicon also forms complex three dimensional structures with oxygen. And the transition elements tend to form very complex three dimensional complexes.

    I might suggest you take some chemistry classes.
     
    #19 Polymath257, Jul 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  20. Cooky

    Cooky Well-Known Member

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    Then what is it that prevents a snowflake from being 3-dimensional?
     
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