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Scientists Find World’s Oldest Groundwater, 1.2 Billion Years Old

Scientists Find World’s Oldest Groundwater, 1.2 Billion Years Old

Suara.com – Scientists from University of TorontoCanada, found groundwater in a mine in south Africa estimated to be 1.2 billion years old. This find makes it one of the oldest on Earth.

The groundwater is enriched in the highest concentrations of radiogenic products, i.e. elements produced by radioactivity, but found in liquids.

Old mine illustration[Shutterstock]

According to research, it suggests that ancient groundwater sites could one day potentially serve as an energy source.

The gold and uranium mine, known as Moab Khotsong, is located 161 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg and is the site of one of the deepest mine shafts in the world.

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The new findings follow previous discoveries of approximately 1.8 billion years of groundwater found during an expedition in 2013 at the Kidd Creek mine in Ontario.

“We now have a new site that is located somewhere different from previous discoveries with a different geological history,” said Oliver Warr, researcher in the department of Earth sciences at the University of Toronto. Live Science on Monday (18/7/2022).

Warr explained that the way rocks release billions of years old groundwater is similar to the way liquid escapes from a water balloon.

After collecting samples at Moab Khotsong, Warr and another international team of researchers examined the contents and found that the water contained properties similar to those of Kidd Creek.

According to experts, under these conditions, water is trapped in rock crevices and over time, it produces uranium which then decays over millions and even billions of years, creating the noble gases.

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When this noble gas accumulates in water, researchers can measure its concentration and how long the water has been in the rock.

Warr explained that the samples collected contained high salinity and concentrations of uranium, radiogenic helium, neon, argon, xenon and krypton.

The team also discovered the presence of hydrogen and helium, both of which are important sources of energy.

The findings offer a glimpse into the invisible diffusion of helium within Earth, an important process to consider as humanity faces an ongoing helium shortage.


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