Saturday, May 18, 2013
BILLION YEAR-OLD WATER
In a Canadian mine, scientists have found a source of flowing water deep within the Earth that's been untouched for at least a billion years. Some estimates say this water has been isolated for closer to three billion years.
Holy cow. I mean, HOLY COW. Do you know what this means?
This means this water could host life that's been isolated for millions of years, if not hundreds of millions. It could host entire ancient ecosystems! It could host microbes that have evolved in separation from the rest of the world for eons!
Excuse the key-smash, but this is freaking awesome.
...Ahem. Right. Now for a bit of slightly calmer explanation:
The water is bubbling out of the deep Earth into a mine in Ontario. The water has been dated by examining the isotopes of the noble gases in the bubbles, and work is still being done to narrow down the date range.
No one has actually identified life in these samples just yet, but with the presence of hydrogen and methane, it's certainly possible for microbial life to exist in isolation in these conditions. It's actually a perfect experiment to learn more about the possibility of life on other planets. If life could've existed in these rocky traps with no connection to the atmosphere for millions of years, life in a place like Mars--that has these same ingredients--isn't a stretch of the imagination at all.
This is really exciting stuff, guys. Like, really really. In fact, rather than an entire weekly roundup, I felt this bit of news deserved a post all of its own. It's just that cool. Take a moment to appreciate this awesomeness. Seriously.
Okay, now you may go ahead and proceed with your Saturday.