I was working graveyard shift at a convenience store. A gallon jug of water suddenly exploded on a shelf in the office. The temperature was controlled, eight other gallons rested on the same shelf. What happened? Is this evidence of atoms having a finite life?

Asked by: Manuel J. Chavez


Manuel, there is a lot of information missing form your account. Clearly water jugs do not explode without reason. One would have to know if the jug was ever opened and if so was the water inside still pure and clean? Even if it was never opened it would have to have had some impurities in it. Clearly some kind of bacteria or yeast got into the jug and fermented. I am sure you have already thought of these and many other possibilities. Of this you may be assured: the atoms of the jug did not decay and cause the explosion. I know this because if they had you would not be here to tell the story!

I know this does not help you much but I did want to assure you that you are not crazy!
Answered by: Tom Young, M.S., Science Teacher, Whitehouse High School, Texas