Deep beneath a Canadian mine, researchers have unearthed the world’s oldest extant lake.
Deep beneath a Canadian minefield, researchers have unearthed the oldest surviving lake. It is estimated that the water lies 3 km below the surface and is an astonishing 2 billion years old.
This discovery broke the record for the oldest water discovery currently known which is at least 500 million years old. Water discovered in the same mine in 2013 came from a depth of about 2.5 kilometers that held the previous record. Miners are digging deeper and deeper into the Earth’s crust in search of copper, zinc and silver, so many things like this ancient body of water are now being discovered.
The scientists took the opportunity to investigate more of the mine as the miners dug deeper. They test for gaseous substances trapped inside the water to assess it. The waters may have dissolved with gases such as helium and xenon, and by detecting them, it is possible to determine what the ancient water’s origin was.
According to Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, who discovered the water, “When people think about this source of water, they assume it must be a small amount of water trapped in the rock. But in fact, it is popping up and backlog a lot right now. Water spewed out at a rate of liters per minute, significantly more than anyone expected.”
However, the age of water is not the only important finding. The important thing here is that the water has signs of life, which the researchers discovered after studying it. Although scientists have yet to find any truly living germs, what they have discovered are essentially ‘traces’ of life. From this they can deduce that there have been some types of microorganisms residing in the water for a long time.
It has some ramifications of remarkable creature details that could be anything that has managed to endure and even thrive in very ancient waters and buried very deep in the Earth. It could aid in the hunt for extraterrestrial life as well as reveal information about life on Earth billions of years ago. This ancient body of water ‘might have’ the conditions needed for bacteria to survive even if they are not as deep as the waters previously found in Canada.
See also: The man discovered the mysterious ancient city right below his house