Researchers Discover World’s Oldest Water in a Mine Nearly 2 Miles Underground

Credits: G. Wunsch/University of Toronto

Water is one of the very first things that appeared on Earth. However, it is still unknown to us how old it is. Water has been present since the beginning of the life of all beings on Earth. It goes through different processes, including evaporation and condensation, to change its state and “renew” itself.

Not all waters are capable of going through this cycle due to isolation. Scientists from the University of Toronto found water in the depths of a Canadian mine. The vital liquid happens to be 2 billion years old.

Toronto ancient water 1
Credits: G. Wunsch/University of Toronto

The researchers found the H2O reservoirs in 2016 while they were about two miles beneath the surface of a Canadian mine. This is the oldest water registered to date. The previous record was established by the same researchers three years before, during an exploration in Kidd Mine, located in Ontario.

[Read: “Living” Chandelier Made with Algae-Filled Leaves Naturally Purifies the Air]

It is possible to tell how old water is by analyzing some of the dissolved gasses it may contain. Some of the most common are helium, xenon, and neon. The underground water collects the gasses that come out of the cracks in the surrounding rocks.

billion year oldwater 1
Credits: University of Toronto

Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar says, “when people think about this water, they assume it must be some tiny amount of water trapped within the rock.” She continued by saying, “in fact, it is very much bubbling right up out at you. These things are flowing at rates of liters per minute – the volume of the water is much larger than anyone anticipated.”

[Read: How The Quality Of Water Affects Your Daily Activities]

The ancient water has also reportedly produced signs of “past micro life.” The researchers have not been able to find living bacteria yet, but these findings could suggest that subterranean water on Mars and other planets may indicate signs of life.

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