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Canadian Scientist Tastes Water That's a Billion Years Old

By - Source: LA Times | B 28 comments
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Doesn't exactly quench your thirst, apparently.

We generally shy away from a glass of water if its been on the nightstand for more than a couple of nights but scientists in Canada are all for drinking old water. Actually, it's just one scientist. The LA Times reports that Barbara Sherwood Lollar, an Earth sciences professor at the University of Toronto, recently admitted to tasting some of the world's oldest water.

Canadian scientists recently discovered water that has been lying undisturbed beneath the Earth's surface is over a billion years old. In a report about the find, Lollar reveals that she's tasted the water multiple times. It's bad, in case you were wondering. Why would anyone ever drink something they found 1.5 miles below the surface of the Earth? Duh, for science. Speaking to the LA Times, Lollar explained that the saltiest waters are the oldest and the "quick and dirty" way to test for saltiness is to taste the water. She compared the consistency to a very light maple syrup and said it's saltier than seawater.

Geologists have known about the pockets of water, which lie underground in Timmins, Ontario, since the 1880s but the age of the water wasn't known until recently. You can read more about the water in Lollar's LA Times interview.

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  • 0 Hide
    MajinCry , June 19, 2013 4:38 AM
    Great! Let's go deep into the Earth to find places undisturbed by humanity, and let's go ahead and indulge in our trivial activities without a care for whatever small ecosystems may reside there.

    Fucking humans.

    /digress
  • 0 Hide
    athulajp , June 19, 2013 4:49 AM
    Isn't almost all water that old though? We just remove bad things from it before drinking it.
  • 0 Hide
    guardianangel42 , June 19, 2013 5:00 AM
    @Majin,

    Did you miss the part where it said that the water was the consistency of maple syrup because of its high concentration of salt?

    Nothing on Earth can survive in an environment with that much salt. Ever heard of the Dead Sea? About 31.5% salt. Notice it's called the DEAD Sea.
  • 0 Hide
    chewbakaats58 , June 19, 2013 5:13 AM
    A billion years old....really?! really?! BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAAAAAA.....whatever you say evolutionists...whatever you say.....
  • 0 Hide
    jarred125 , June 19, 2013 5:19 AM
    @guardianangel42

    Did you also forget that not too terribly long ago people thought Earth was the center of the universe, was flat, was held up on the back of a giant turtle and elephant, etc etc etc.

    My point is, humans have ZERO idea what is impossible. Many arrogantly assume something cant be possible until they witness it. So as far as this scientist knows there is nothing down there ... but that's how it always works until they discover something.
  • 0 Hide
    Benthon , June 19, 2013 5:42 AM
    There are tons of things that are impossible and it takes simple math to figure it out. Don't be arrogant yourself.
    Also, Chewbakaats58 trollin' so hard.
  • 0 Hide
    MajinCry , June 19, 2013 5:49 AM
    @Benthon It was thought, until VERY recently, that no living organism could survive in space. Then we found Tardigrades.

    Stop being close minded. That's the same type of thinking that people used to dismiss magnetism, radiation, conductivity, gravity, etc.
  • 0 Hide
    hixbot , June 19, 2013 6:44 AM
    Dr Lollar did it for the LOLs.
  • 0 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , June 19, 2013 6:54 AM
    @chewbakaats58

    If you knew anything about science then you would know that age estimate has nothing to do with evolution. Here's a little question for you: The visible universe is quite undeniably bigger than a billion light years in any direction we care to look at. It's one of the marvellous things about creation. It's incredibly, unfathomably, awe inspiringly big. And we can see stars and galaxies at distances of 1 billion light years and beyond quite readily... So how long did it take the light to get from those stars to the earth?
  • 0 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , June 19, 2013 7:01 AM
    Majin

    "Nothing on Earth can survive in an environment with that much salt. Ever heard of the Dead Sea? About 31.5% salt. Notice it's called the DEAD Sea"

    Not entirely true bacteria and microbial fungi are present in the dead sea.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , June 19, 2013 7:15 AM
    guardianangel42 , 'extremophiles' have been found all over, under and
    in the planet. Wherever we look, if there's water, we find life. Some organisms
    have bio mechanisms utterly unrelated to what we're familiar with, eg. they
    exploit mineral products from radioactive decay. Nothing to do with the sun
    or standard oxygen cycles. Some have such slow metabolic rates that they
    live for tens of millions of yeard, indeed so slow that normal reproduction as
    we think of it would be so energy intensive that it'd kill them.

    Check recent issues of New Scientist, you'll find numerous articles about
    the extreme conditions in which we continue to find life. I'll be surprised if
    we don't find something akin to these organisms on Mars, perhaps in comets
    too, and almost certainly on Europa.

    As Malcom once said, life will find a way... (2 points if you get that reference. :D )

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , June 19, 2013 7:16 AM
    To be quite honest I would not take that chance. Some chemicals found in geothermal vents are quite toxic. And I don't think it's too much of a stretch to assume that some of these chemicals could over billions of years have leached into the water. I mean salt certainly did and salts are not all benign to human physiology. Sure you will most not find going to find anything on par with a strong neurotoxin there, but none the less... Arsenic and any number of sulphurous compounds have every chance to be in such water. I assume they did a few sanity checks before she turned herself into a guinea pig.
  • 0 Hide
    Hanin33 , June 19, 2013 7:34 AM
    mapesdhs: Jurassic Park sucked!
  • 0 Hide
    MajinCry , June 19, 2013 8:08 AM
    @ SteelCity1981, I think you meant guardianangel42.
  • 0 Hide
    kanoobie , June 19, 2013 9:03 AM
    I am not sure what the article means by stating that the water is a billion years old. Are they saying that it has remained relatively undisturbed for that long? Doesn't groundwater eventually seep into the ocean or gets into the atmosphere through transpiration as part of the hydrologic cycle?
  • 0 Hide
    yorich , June 19, 2013 9:32 AM
    @guardianangel42: hey high speed. before you go putting someone else down, do some research:

    "minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present."
    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea
  • 0 Hide
    Pherule , June 19, 2013 9:56 AM
    Except the world's only ~6000 years old. Nice try, "scientists".
  • 0 Hide
    tmshdw , June 19, 2013 10:10 AM
    @guardianangel42

    The dead sea is full of living organisms
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , June 19, 2013 10:59 AM
    @chewbakaats58

    nice troll
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , June 19, 2013 12:34 PM
    This is just plain stupid...
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