Don’t Drink Any Arctic Meltwater Unless You Want To Ingest Up To 0.000000000000023 Grams Of (Gasp) Osmium With Each Gram!

by Jack Lifton on April 22, 2009

in News Analysis, Platinum Group

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The ability of analytical chemists to detect low levels of metals in water, has gone far beyond the ability of environmentalists to exercise common sense and good judgement.

The author of a recent article in Nature states that modern Arctic ice contains up to 120 times more osmium, or platinum group metals (PMGs), than 7,000 year old ice.

I do not believe that 0.00000000000000020 grams of anything per gram of water, can be reliably and repeatedly measured as to its actual distribution in a sample space. I suspect that this researcher does not know that the UK’s University of Durham last year published an observation, that parts per million of PMGs were found in the dust on Durham’s streets. Those researchers, equally as clueless in economics as this researcher is in common sense, suggested that the “dust” could be mined to recover the PMGs.

Just for the record it should be noted that almost no osmium is produced for commercial purposes, because those purposes are very few, and osmium is very rare.

It should also be noted that osmium is carried into the earth’s atmosphere by meteorites, and so it cannot be assumed that the “measured’ osmium in the arctic ice even originated on the earth, much less that it got there through human agency.

I wonder how much gold is in that water the researcher measured, and how much of nickel, iron, cobalt, platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, and iridium there was? The list of elements beginning with nickel are in the composition of many meteorites.

I think that sometimes getting “published” in a prestigious journal like Nature, is more important to young researchers than the content of what they publish. I just wish that Nature would employ some fact checkers with a knowledge of geology and astronomy, as well as of activist environmentalism and climate change.

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