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University of Toronto geoscientists discover oldest water in the world

University of Toronto geoscientists discover oldest water in the world

India Blooms News Service | 17 Dec 2016, 02:23 pm
Toronto, Dec 17 (IBNS): The discovery of two-billion-year-old water in a mine in Timmins, scientifically proven to be the oldest water in the world, by a team of University of Toronto geoscientists could lead to a new perception of ancient life on earth and on other planets.

Oliver Warr, one of the researchers who led the latest expedition into the mine said that the water was eight times more salty than seawater but it was still safe to drink

Warr added that he would not recommend it for drinking because of the traces of heavy metals found in water that could harm human beings.

In 2013 the team had discovered samples of water in the same mine that were scientifically dated at least one billion years old.

But recent samples which the researchers had found from deeper in the mine proved to be twice as old.

The ancient water precedes dinosaurs by over one billion years, and was present when “the Earth was still becoming the Earth as we know it,” Warr said. “It’s like a time capsule for geochemical data.”

As a result, the team of researchers felt that the water could throw light about the formation of the earth, and the very beginnings of life on the planet.

“It’s incredible that water can have residence on the earth at this kind of scale,” Warr said.

"Everything about the water is brand new. We are seeing signals in all isotopes that we've identified so far that we've never seen anywhere else."

War and lead researcher Barbara Sherwood Lollar presented their discovery at the American Geophysical Union at San Francisco.

Warr said helium, argon, neon, krypton and xenon were found in the water. Those gases accumulate over time in the fluid trapped in rock fractures.

It was possible for the researchers to find out the age of water based on how much of each gas had accumulated in the water.

"If water has been down there for up to two billion years, it can tell us something about the atmosphere at the time, or the state of the earth, which previously we've not been able to get much insight into," Warr said..

"It won't kill you if you drank it, but it would taste absolutely disgusting,"

War believed that although the ancient water discovered was not tasty it may still hold life.

These inferences could provide more implications how life could exist and survive in these depths, Warr said.

"It could start paving the way for understanding life on other planets as well."

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj, Image of mines in Timmins: Wikipedia)

University of Toronto geoscientists discover oldest water in the world

India Blooms News Service
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