Home > Environment, World of the Strange – Weird Science > Oldest Water On Earth Found Deep Underground.

Oldest Water On Earth Found Deep Underground.

By Charles Q. Choi  May 16th 2013.        Find Full Article Here:-

A pocket of water some 2.6 billion years old — the most ancient pocket of water known by far, older even than the dawn of multicellular life — has now been discovered in a mine 2 miles below the Earth’s surface.

The finding, announced in the May 16 issue of the journal Nature, raises the tantalizing possibility that ancient life might be found deep underground not only within Earth, but in similar oases that may exist on Mars, the scientists who studied the water said.

deep mine waters

A scientist takes a sample of water from a mine deep underground in Ontario, Canada. The water turned out to be 2.6 billion years old, the oldest known water on Earth.

Geoscientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar at the University of Toronto and her colleagues have investigated deep mines across the world since the 1980s. Water can flow into fractures in rocks and become isolated deep in the crust for many years, serving as a time capsule of what their environments were like at the time they were sealed off.

In gold mines in South Africa 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) deep, the scientists previously discovered microbes could survive in pockets of water isolated for tens of millions of years. These reservoirs were many times saltier than seawater, “and had chemistry in many ways similar to hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the ocean, full of dissolved hydrogen and other chemicals capable of supporting life,” Sherwood Lollar said. [Strangest Places Where Life Is Found on Earth]

To see what other ancient pockets of water might exist, Sherwood Lollar and her colleagues investigated copper and zinc mines near the city of Timmins in Ontario, Canada. “As the prices of copper, zinc and gold have gone up, mines now go deeper, which has helped our search for long-isolated reservoirs of water hidden underground,” Sherwood Lollar said.

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