Geologists have discovered the Earth’s most ancient pocket of water, estimated to be 2.7 billion years old, buried deep beneath the ground.
The researchers followed a scientific treasure map of places to investigate the ancient bodies of water on Earth.
The investigation then led to the water discovery deep within the oldest rocks in the Earth’s crust below Canada, South Africa, and Scandinavia.
The Canadian-led research team took samples of water from one kilometer below the surface to more than three kilometers.
The research team has investigated deep mines across the world since the 1980s.
“The water appears to be reacting with the rock to produce large quantities of hydrogen,” according to the research.
Researchers took samples of the highly salty water welling up in 19 mines around the world to test for hydrogen content.
“The huge quantities of hydrogen rich water in the Earth’s crust was a ‘sleeping giant’ that could be a source of possible energy for life,” said the lead author, Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, geologist at the University of Toronto.
Researchers estimate there is about 11 million cubic kilometers of the water, which is more than all the world’s rivers, swamps and lakes put together.
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