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Geopathology, or underground water causing cancer - is there any basis?

  1. Apr 22, 2008 #1
    I know geopathology is supposed to be much wider, but I would like to ask just about this part: Is it possible that underground water or minerals cause cancer or prevent plants from growing?

    Before you dismiss it, remember science is driven by observations and experiments. It's not like religion that is driven by scripture that you just recite and trust to always be true. So please be sound in your method, please consider the observations:

    I met a farmer the other day, that liked to talk a lot about his work. One thing he said that was strange, was about a very small tree (40 cm tall) in the middle between much larger trees (2 metres tall) spaced 8 metres apart in a square grid . The farmer said:

    "This place I have planted like 15 times. Nothing grows here - there must be water underneath".

    That was surprising, one might expect water to be good for plants, if it is close enough. Maybe I'll get a picture next time I get there to show you this strange phenomenon. And we have to take the farmer's word that he planted that spot many times but nothing grew.

    So it might be something about that place, probably water, maybe minerals, but whatever it is, the observation is that trees do not grow there.

    What's for sure, e/m waves at low frequencies can be harmful to many living organisms, and cause cancer. But variations of the earth's magnetic field during magnetic storms are not very strong.

    Anyone know how much effect underground water might have on the variations of the earth's magnetic field? What other effect might be at work, causing living organisms bad health? This is well away from electrical wires by the way, kilometres away. And the mobile phone signal was weak at that place, so human-caused effects are ruled out.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2008 #2
    PS My first degree is in electronic engineering, so feel free to go into the technical details of interaction between the earth's magnetic field and living organisms, if you know about it.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2008 #3

    matthyaouw

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    The tree example could be to do with soil quality, depth etc. If there's unusually shallow or poor soil there for whatever reason then the trees will not grow as high. Perhaps there's the remains of an old stone structure just below the surface.
    I don't know about cancer as such, but water can contain pretty harmful stuff depending on its source. If I recall there are some hot springs in Japan with high levels of dissolved arsenic.
     
  5. Apr 23, 2008 #4
    That was a very small plant that I saw, I doubt it would go deeper than 40 cm, and yet it did not grow any further. It remains to be seen if the roots touch anything bad, by actually digging up the plant.

    But then the farmer almost certainly has dug that deep, remember he tried it 15 times. He would have noticed if there's anything bad. By the way, he's 72 years old.
     
  6. Apr 23, 2008 #5

    matthyaouw

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    They don't have to be big plants to be affected by underlying stuff. Archaeologists rely on the fact that ordinary crops will respond to underlying soil depths. They grow taller where an old infilled ditch or pit exists and shorter if there's been something like a stone wall.

    Don't assume that the farmer must have thoroughly surveyed the soil.
     
  7. Apr 23, 2008 #6
    I only mention size because these are not seeds but plants that the farmer has to dig to put them in, so the farmer would be able to see if there was a rock or whatever.

    Or are you suggesting chemical effects from underlying pit or whatever work remotely, without a visible effect on the soil? Mind you, this is only a very localised effect, adjacent plants 8 metres away are fully grown and healthy.
     
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