Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bottled 145 Million Year Old Water? World’s Oldest Water Found in Our Backyard

It is doubtful that this 145 million year old salty water would quench much of a thirst. Under the dust of America’s backyard is an ancient underground bowl of water that may hold the key to the Earths development. US Geological Survey (USGS) scientists believe they found water so old it may unlock mysterious creatures unknown.

Located under the Chesapeake Bay in the U.S. is the world’s oldest body of salt water. Dating back 100 to 145 million years old it is an amazing discovery just a mile underground. Sometime around 35 million years ago, a large piece of ice or rock slammed into the Cape Charles seafloor and dug out a 56-mile wide hole. It is believed that this disturbance pushed additional rocks and sediment over the ancient water and covered it from the main body. 

Even though the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program originally drilled in 2005, it took a number of years to analyze the water.  They used chloride and bromide to understand the date and nature of the water and came across its ancient source. The researchers believe that there may be other ancient deposits within the area but no plans have been developed to find them yet. 

The water is definitely more salty than current seawater. There are some arguments why this may or may not be the case. Some believe that if a meteor hit the area and burned off a proportion of the water leaving more salt in a smaller area. Others believe that it is possible that water in ancient times was simply more salty and this changed over the course of thousands of years. 

What the journal and the reports do not discuss are the microbial and potential ancient creatures the water may contain. Perhaps the keys to life on earth can be found within the water itself. Future research may move beyond simply understanding the age of the water and analyzing the treasures, it may hold for planetary development and life. 

Sanford, W. et. al (November 2013). Evidence for high salinity of early cretaceous sea water from the Chesapeake bay crater. Nature.

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