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Current Affairs

Oldest water on Earth

Date: 30 April 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Geologists have extracted the oldest water on Earth from a mine in Canada. The water is estimated to be 1.6 billion years old.

 

Background

The discovery is sure to have great implications on study of evolution of life and organisms on Earth and also possibility of finding water of Mars.

 

Details

  • The study was conducted at the Kidd creek mine located on the Canadian Shield, which is one of the world’s largest continental shields.

  • The water was discharging from a crack in the rocks and was highly saline. The salinity level was up to 10 times more than sea water.

  • The collected sample was then sent to UK for study. The experiments conducted on the sample showed that it was about 1.6 billion years old.

 

Discovery in the sample

  • Scientists discovered chemolithotrophic microbes, which are a form of bacteria that can survive in extreme regions including subterranean liquid.

  • The Canadian Shield used to be a part of ocean basin. Over the years it became vertical and water got trapped within its walls.

 

Importance of discovery

  • The continental Shield is the region with most likely resemblance to Mars subsurface due to absence of seismic activities.

  • If water can be found at such a depth on Earth, it may be possible that Mars too would hold similar water reserves.

  • It could be a subject of future missions on Mars, especially in areas where there have been signs of previous water flow.

 

Continental shield

  • Continental shield are large stable areas of the Earth’s crust that are made up of Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks.

  • They are the oldest regions on the Earth’s crust and thus are home to some of the oldest rocks.