Scientists in Canada have hit a jackpot in the form of world’s oldest water beneath Canadian soils at depths of nearly 3 kilometres and based on their study they claim to have found evidence of life in this highly saline water.
Researchers at University of Toronto revealed during a presentation at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco that the 2 billion years old water is untouched and is the oldest water ever found. Study of the water could reveal possible clues to water that may be hidden away underneath Mars and if microorganisms could be present on the Red Planet.
Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar at the University led the study that found the oldest water and according to the researcher the water they have found is nothing like the water they encounter on Earth – not even the saline one. Researchers also revealed that they have found chemical traces left behind by tiny single celled organisms that once lived in the fluid. Sulphate gave researchers the fingerprint that hinted at the presence of life.
Further, researchers also point out that the signals that they used to indicate presence of life in this highly saline water were left by microbes and that too over the course of quite a few years indicating that organisms have been present in these fluids on a geological timescale.
Over the years we have been studying a number of underground and deep-oceans sites and through those studies have gained an understanding that life is present in some of the most harsh environments on Earth. With the latest discovery of highly saline underground lake, there is a possibility that researchers will be able to find clues to life hidden beneath Mars’ surface and possibly elsewhere in the Solar System and beyond.
The first time researchers found billions of years old water was in a previous study wherein they had found a pool of ancient water some 2.4km down in a copper, zinc and silver mine.