Groundwater isolated for eons

At least 1.5 billion years after it last saw the surface, flowing liquid may host life

By Erin Wayman, 17:41 PM May 14, 2013

Drilling more than two kilometers into the ground beneath Canada, geologists have struck scientific gold: pockets of flowing water isolated underground for at least 1.5 billion years and perhaps as long as 2.64 billion years.

The water is rich in hydrogen and methane, which nourish microbes living today near hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. That means the deposits may harbor ancient lineages of life cut off from the surface for eons, the researchers report in the May 16 Nature.


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