Just from the title, you may already know what this article is about, and you may even be wondering what is so special about groundwater. Well, if you are interested in planet Earth and the mysteries that it holds, you might find it interesting that an international research team discovered groundwater that is estimated to be around a billion years old in South Africa. This is the second time in history that a discovery like this has been made. Now, that is pretty impressive, no? Let’s talk about this newly discovered groundwater.
What Is Groundwater?
Before jumping into the details about the discovery itself, you must first understand the significance of this discovery as it isn’t anything that happens daily! Groundwater is defined as water that gets trapped under the earth’s surface in crevices, cracks, and pores. Most of the groundwater originates from rain or snow; the water touches the ground and then seeps into it through tiny spaces. Because of this, groundwater is quite safe, and you can even drink it. The layer of soil above it acts as a filter and the water is kept safe from any kinds of microorganisms that may cause disease(s).
The water that was recently discovered is estimated to be around 1.2 billion years old. It was found in a uranium and gold-producing mine in Moab Khotsong, South Africa. At first, the researchers struggled to determine its age because of the uranium levels that served as an obstacle in guessing the year of origins for the groundwater.
Well, elements like thorium, uranium, and potassium decay and release alpha, gamma, and beta radiation, which tears up the water molecules in a process called radiolysis. Radiolysis then results in the production of large concentrations of hydrogen that serves as an energy source for the microbial communities that cannot receive sunlight due to their location. So, when the researchers discovered groundwater in Moab Khotsong, they also found high levels of radiogenic helium, neon, and xenon when observed. However, what shocked the researchers more is the discovery of krypton, which is an isotope that had never been discovered before.
The Future Of This Discovery
The first discovery was made in Canada ten years ago when researchers discovered groundwater that was around a billion years of age. However, in today’s day and age, scientists have been able to discover the storage of energy deep within the surface of the Earth and how it can be released and distributed. This can open doors for the world of science to explore helium and hydrogen producing power and use it on a global scale.
So, are you convinced that this water discovery is not an average discovery?