Two-Billion-Year-Old Water Found Miles Beneath Earth’s Surface

By Nick Venable | 8 years ago

waterWhen you look at a bottle of water, do you ever think to yourself that the water inside the bottle is new? It’s a strange concept to consider: new water. I make sure and pour my tap water into cellophane and really hard-to-open plastic packaging,so it has that new water smell, even if I know it’s probably just the same old water.

Barbara SherwoodLollar, a geneticist at the University of Toronto, and her colleagues recently published a study in the journal Nature reporting their astounding find: pockets of water that are between 1.5 billion and 2.64 billion years old. The research team were investigating copper, zinc, and gold mines near Timmons in Ontario, Canada. The pockets were found a whopping two miles underground, and contained fluids far older than anyone expected. It will definitely fit into research involving life in waters deep beneath the ground, both on Earth and on Mars.

The water’s noble gases — argon, helium, neon, and xenon — were analyzed, their ratios matched to the point in Earth’s history that equaled out to be a really, really long time ago, in an area that was formed by activity similar to that which causes hydrothermal vents near volcanic sites beneath the ocean.

“We walked along what used to be ocean floor 2.7 billion years ago,” Sherwood Lollar said. “You could still see some of the same pillow lava structures now seen on the bottom of the ocean.” I’ve got five dollars that says James Cameron’s next birthday party will be held there.

The water will now be tested to see if it can support life, and the ramifications would be many if it can. It was pouring out of the mine’s drillhole at about a half-gallon a minute, though I’m not sure what it’s like now, or when it’s supposed to end, or if it will. If a tentacle pops out of that thing, I don’t want to be here anymore.

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