Imaggeo on Mondays: Water or new iridescent fluid?

Water or new iridescent fluid? by Alessandro Arato, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

At ambient conditions, water is an odourless, tasteless, transparent liquid. It’s a vital fluid yet it has very simple properties. Unlike soap bubbles, for example, water is not iridescent – it does not appear to change colour when we view it from different angles. Unless, of course, there is something colourful in the background that the water reflects giving it an apparent iridescence. This is what happened in this simple yet luminous scene captured by Alessandro Arato of the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy.

He took this picture about a year ago in a small village in the Alps near Turin, known locally as the ‘village of the fountains’. “Fountains have traditionally been the place for people to get their water supply (from the water sources and after depuration processes) in remote Alpine villages, and also for social life. Even today, it is still common to hear villagers say ‘Hey folks, let’s meet at the fountain’,” explains Alessandro.

“After a whole year of working and studying, August 2011 was dedicated to relaxation.” he says. “I was sitting on a bench in front of the fountain. The village balconies were filled with flowers, and when I grabbed the camera and pointed at the water, I saw the amazing variety of colours that now are in the photo.”

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Bárbara Ferreira was the Media and Communications Manager of the European Geosciences Union from 2011 to 2019. Bárbara has also worked as a science writer specialising in astrophysics and space sciences, producing articles for the European Space Agency and others on a freelance basis. She has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge.

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