World’s oldest flowing water found in Canada 1.5 miles underground – scientists testing for life

// May 20th, 2013 // Geology and Archaeology News


Water discovered under mine dated from 1.5 to 2.64 billion years old making it the world's oldest flowing water

Canadian and British scientists announced last week that they have discovered the world’s oldest flowing water deep under an Ontario copper and zinc mine in Canada.  The scientists recovered the water through boreholes drilled underneath the mine.  The cache of water was discovered 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) underground and is believed to date from 1.5 to 2.64 billion years old (dated via analysis of the amount of xenon gas dissolved in it).  That would put the water’s origin to around the time the first multicellular life arose on the planet.  They noted that the water is rich with dissolved hydrogen and methane, both components that could theoretically support microbial life.  According to the paper that they released:

“Some Canadian members of the team are currently testing the water to see if it contains microbial life — if they exist, those microbes may have been isolated from the sun and the Earth’s surface for billions of years and may reveal how microbes evolve in isolation.”

Although the water that they discovered is older than any other known reservoir of flowing water, it is not the oldest water ever found. Water trapped inside tiny bubbles within rocks has been dated to be billions of years old but of course, water encased within rocks cannot foster life.

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