Scientists Found World's Oldest Water

A scientist from Canada has found an underground water cave that is estimated to be 2 billion years old ever since it was discovered in North America in 2016. Starting in 2013, a group of scientists found underground water aged 1.5 million years at a copper and zinc mine, Kidd Mine situated in Ontario, Canada.

The pool of water was found at a depth of 2.4 km from the surface floor inside a mining tunnel. According to a geochemist from the University of Toronto named Barabara Sherwood, in order to understand in-depth the underground water system that has been present for so long, researchers will need to dig even deeper inside.

In 2016, there has been a new discovery at a depth of 3 km underground from the same area but this finding was quite shocking to the researchers. They thought that the source of the water that will be found will only be a pool of water that has been trapped. 

However, they were definitely wrong since the presence of bubbles at that particular depth indicates that there is a flow of an immense volume of underground water. Underground water will commonly flow at a slow pace compared to the water on the surface of the Earth.

The speed of underground water flows at a rate of 1 meter per year. When the flow of the water is disturbed by drilling or any mining activities, the water will flow much faster at a rate of 2 liters per minute.

After studying the content of the water at a depth of 3 km, researchers estimated that the underground water is around 2 billion years old making this water the oldest water to ever be found. This discovery was later presented in a meeting at the American Geophysical Union Fall in December 2016.

The researchers continued their studies to find if there were any living creatures in the ancient underground water. Sulfate is the chemical compound required by bacteria as a source of respiration. Sulfate is commonly found in watery areas such as swamps or rivers.

Researchers put their emphasis on the sulfate content to find any correlation between the flow of water from the Earth's surface. The content of sulfate in the water shows that the sulfate was produced from the chemical reaction between water and stone and not because of the water flowing from the Earth's surface.

This shows that the underground water that was isolated from the flow of water from the surface of the Earth possesses microbes that have lived for billions of years. Researchers believed that if this underground water can sustain living creatures from the marine life on the Earth's surface, then habitable planets like Mars will also have this similar underground water.

The researchers are still finding any sign of microbial life that lived in habitats such as this underground water aged 2 billion years.

  • The World’s Oldest Water Lies Deep Below Canada And Is 2 Billion Years Old. Science Alert. Published 5 June 2021.

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