Water's Structure & its Role in the Origin of Organic Molecules                               back  
  ICE: at temps below freezing (0
) water molecules assume their most STABLE
            configuration, organizing neatly and strengthening its H-bonds over hundreds
            of water molecules (fig). Crystalline water's (ice's) shape is HEXAGONAL,
            with every oxygen atom forming a 6-fold pattern as we see in snowflakes.
: H-bonds redistribute rapidly & constantly (CUBIC), thus the structure
            of water adjusts to its local environment, i.e., an air bubble can rise through liquid
            water, but not through structure solid ice. Organic molecules can travel between
            liquid water molecules and recombine into more complex organics, characteristic
            of living things.  Solid hexagonally structured ice expels organic compounds from
            its crystal structure preventing their forming more complex polymers.
:  at temps close to absolute zero (10 to 65
K) the oxygen atoms can
            stack up in CUBIC H-bond patterns forming amorphous ice.  Without a structured
            or specific order UV light/radiation (energy) causes this ice to "flow" like liquid
            water and thus organic molecules [CH3-OH & NH4] can form within from inorganics
            such as CO, CO2.  At temps from 65 to 125
K amorphous ice becomes less dense
            and H-bonds break and reform allowing the recombination of organics
           (albeit much slower than in liquid water - 100,000 years vs. 1 second).