Deep below a Canadian mine, researchers in 2016 unearthed the oldest pool of water in existence. It is estimated that the water is 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) below the surface and is an amazing 2 billion years old.
The finding caused a delay of at least 500 million years in the age of the oldest water that is currently known. Water discovered in the same mine by the same team in 2013 that came from a depth of about 2.5 kilometers held the previous record. Since the miners are digging further and deeper into the Earth’s crust in search of copper, zinc, and silver, the mine is actually the deepest basal metal mine in the world.
The scientists used the chance to investigate more of the mine as the miners delved down further. They examined the gases that were trapped inside the water to evaluate it. Water may become trapped with gases like helium and xenon, and by detecting them, it is possible to determine how ancient the water is.
According to Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, who presented the discovery, “When people think about this water they presume it must be some minuscule bit of water trapped within the rock.” But in reality, it’s very much coming out at you right now. The water is gushing at rates of liters per minute, which is significantly more than anyone had anticipated.
The huge age of the water is not the only significant finding, though. The liquid had signs of life, which the researchers discovered after studying it. Although scientists haven’t yet found any genuine living germs, what they did detect was essentially the life’s fingerprint. They can deduce from this that there has been some kind of microbiology residing in the water for a very long time.
It has some significant ramifications that anything has managed to endure and even thrive in water that is so ancient and buried so deeply in the Earth. It may aid in the hunt for extraterrestrial life as well as revealing information about life on Earth billions of years ago. On Mars’ surface, rivers no longer flow, yet there are still pockets of water and ice below the surface. These pockets may have the conditions essential for microbes to survive even if they are not quite as deep as the water found in Canada.