1.2 billion year old water source unearthed in South African mine

Oliver Warr, research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto and the lead of the study, said that for the first time we have known that energy is stored at such a depth below the Earth’s surface. Image credit Oliver Warr.

Toronto, ANI : Water is life. The beginning of life on earth has also been possible with water. 71 percent of the earth is covered by water. Of this, only 1.6 percent of the water is groundwater. Water has always been the center of curiosity for scientists. Now an international team of scientists has discovered 1.2 billion years old water in a gold and uranium mine in South Africa. It has developed our understanding of how life began beneath the Earth’s surface.

It is a proof of how life became possible due to the availability of water. The findings of this research have been published in the journal Nature Communications. Sources of energy for life are available in this groundwater. For millions of years, this groundwater has been a witness to the beginning of life on earth.

If we look at it as a agglomeration of helium and hydrogen producing power, then it is known that on a global scale, its benefits can be available to the entire biosphere. Professor Barbara Sherwood Loller of the University of Toronto’s Department of Earth Sciences said that about ten years ago, we had discovered groundwater billions of years old under the Canadian Shield. Then this was the beginning of this research. Now in Moab Khotsong, about 2.9 kilometers below Earth’s surface, we find that the extremes of the world’s water cycle are wider than ever before. Uranium and other radioactive elements are found naturally in the surrounding rock, in which minerals and ores are deposited. Many types of new information were obtained from these elements. Groundwater acted as a kind of power generator for previously discovered micro-organisms.

Scientists reported that when elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium decay on the subsurface, it results in a wave effect of alpha, beta and gamma. Thereby causing radiogenic reactions in the surrounding rocks and fluids. Scientists found large amounts of radiogenic helium, neon, argon and xenon in Moab Khotsong. Radiation also breaks down water molecules in the radiolysis process. This produces large concentrations of hydrogen which is an essential source of energy in the depths of the Earth. Because of their extremely small mass, helium and neon are particularly valuable for the identification and quantification of transport potentials. Due to the extremely low concentration of crystalline rocks, it is possible to say that these groundwaters remained largely isolated and rarely mixed. Information about the availability of helium was also obtained through this study.

War pointed out that humans are not the only dependents on the energy resources available in the depths of the earth. Here both helium and hydrogen are produced due to radiogenic reactions. One can also calculate the hydrogen energy flow through this process. Scientists said that through this calculation it is important to understand how life exists on Earth and what energy can be generated from radiogenic powered power on the planets and moons of the Solar System and beyond.

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