Flaming Oceans and Seas

It has been overcast and rainy here in Playa, which has meant fewer days on the beach and more days reading at a coffee shop. Fortunately, I have a car and was able to go do some sightseeing with the two new friends I made. As we made our way to Tulum the weather started to clear up the more inland we got. By the time we got to the Coba ruins and made our way up the pyramid I was dripping sweat. 


This week I have slightly shorter questions so I am going to cover two of them:

  • What state of matter is a flame?
  • What is the difference between an ocean and a sea?

What state of matter is a flame?

Fire is not like most matter on this earth, it

The truth is (derived from various sources like here, here, and here) what state of matter a flame is not quite defined by science yet. It is a chemical reaction for which parts of it resemble a gas and others a plasma. It cannot be wholely denoted as one or the other. For the most part, it is a mixture of gases: the oxygen in the air, some sort of fuel, and other gases. It is like a gas in the sense that unless it is enclosed in a container it does not have a defined shape or volume. The flame itself is just a visual proof that the gases are still reacting. However, a flame eventually burns itself out. The other states of matter, on the other hand, can exist indefinitely.

In 1879 the fourth state of matter was introduced by Sir William Crookes. Plasma is defined as a hot ionized gas consisting of electrically charged particles. While plasma resembles a gas, it does not behave in the same way. Once a flame gets hot enough, it becomes ionized and therefore a plasma.

What is the difference between the Sea and the Ocean?

This one is much easier to answer and may seem a little obvious to most. They are both large bodies of salt water but seas are the part of the ocean that is partially enclosed by land. While oceans cover roughly 70% of the earth, there are only five oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic. On the other hand, there are over 50 seas. The top five seas based on size are the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South China, Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico,  and Okhotsk.