The core of the scientific method lies in experimentation, the ability to test a hypothesis by gathering new information and refining your theories accordingly.

In this exercise you will design an experiment to solve an environmental problem using chemistry and the virtual lab. You will be developing concepts that later this semester you will be required to know. All the information you need to solve this problem is given in this assignment and you do not need to use your text to answer this problem.
What happened to the fish?
Old Fishing Hole

You discover a lake with dead fish. Further investigation finds some old 50-gallon drums, which have obviously been leaking.
Old Oil Drums

After contacting authorities, you discover you have found an abandoned storage facility with drums containing the metal ions of sodium (Na+), magnesium (Mg+2), calcium (Ca+2) and mercury (Hg2+2). You carefully salvage four leaking 50-gallon drums (which you label A-D) and suspect one or more of them contains the mercury ion which is responsible for the dead fish.

Your virtual stock room has 4 containers with samples from each of the drums labeled Unknown (A through D). Your objective is to familiarize yourself with the virtual lab and to identify which drum(s) contain Mercury.

Relevant Chemistry:

Your stockroom also has containers which you know contain mercury (actually called mercurous), sodium, magnesium, calcium and chloride ions. Chloride is a negative ion while the others are positive ions. You know positive and negative charged ions attract and sometimes the attraction is so great that a solid precipitate forms.

Using the virtual lab, determine which metal ions can form a solid and using this information, determine which barrel(s) contain the mercury.