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Still Waters

World's oldest flowing water discovered

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Water found in a deep, isolated reservoir in Timmins, Ont., has been trapped there for 1.5 billion to 2.64 billion years — since around the time the first multicellular life arose on the planet — Canadian and British scientists say.

The water pouring out of boreholes 2.4 kilometres below the surface in the northern Ontario copper and zinc mine is older than any other free-flowing water ever discovered. It is rich in dissolved gases such as hydrogen and methane that could theoretically provide support for microbial life, the researchers report in a paper published Wednesday online in the journal Nature.

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...mmins-mine.html

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Maybe they'll find a new species of micro life.

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OH great! Tell everyone all about it. It will get polluted in no time...

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They'll bottle it and sell it in 7-11.

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Maybe they'll find a new species of micro life.

Hopefully it won't be one that kills us.

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They'll bottle it and sell it in 7-11.

Well Nestles was looking for a new souce of spring water for their Poland Springs brand.

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OH great! Tell everyone all about it. It will get polluted in no time...

Maybe we'll find out how the water stayed pure for so long and be able to use the knowledge to clean-up the water we poluted.

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Nice find!

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Astounding.. Hopefully we will learn something from it.

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First, is new water being created somewhere on the earth's surface and has no connection with this underground reservoir? Where is this water flowing from and where is it flowing to? Is it isolated from the rest of the world's water? Is it flowing in a sealed area circling in its own isolated space like water in a fish tank? wouldn't you think all of the world and it's water would be the same age? By the way, how do they measure the age of flowing water? Well, enquiring minds want know all the facts and there's not enough info here to think this is a unique find. Hope they write a follow up with more info on this in the near future.

First, is new water being created somewhere on the earth's surface and has no connection with this underground reservoir? Where is this water flowing from and where is it flowing to? Is it isolated from the rest of the world's water? Is it flowing in a sealed area circling in its own isolated space like water in a fish tank? wouldn't you think all of the world and it's water would be the same age? By the way, how do they measure the age of flowing water? Well, enquiring minds want know all the facts and there's not enough info here to think this is a unique find. Hope they write a follow up with more info on this in the near future.

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Hmm hopefully they don't unleash some deadly bacteria while taking samples. :unsure2:

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I'll take a dozen bottles

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All water has been on earth since the beginning. It just moves around. the earth will never take more water on, nor lose any water. so how do you judge how old water is? you don't. you can judge how old the species living within it. The aquifer is also the oldest source of water as well, hidden below the earth's surface.

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Very cool, thanks for the info.

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All water has been on earth since the beginning. It just moves around. the earth will never take more water on, nor lose any water. so how do you judge how old water is? you don't. you can judge how old the species living within it. The aquifer is also the oldest source of water as well, hidden below the earth's surface.

Well that's simply not true...

Can't help thinking a lot of people watch way too many movies reading this thread.

Interesting find though :tu:

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I'm not familar with the Timmins mine but I can say with 99% certainty that the aquifer they have found is a confined aquifer, meaning that there are at least one layers of low permeability geology overlaying it. The isolation of the aquifer would mean that it would be relatively immune to recharge. The fact that the water is so old supports the fact that there is neglible recharge into this aquifer, and also implies that there is relatively little output. Therefore, I doubt that there is any hydraulic gradient at all (meaning it will not flow). It is essentially what we tend to call fossil water that recharged this aquifer billions of years ago, possibly during a wet period prior to the tertiary. Subsequently, over billions of years this isolcated little aquifer has been cut off from the world through various geological processes, until now. I hope that the mine deals with this aquifer responsibly, since I suspect it will probably be yielding water solely from storage with no recharge (once its gone, its gone).

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Well that's simply not true...

Can't help thinking a lot of people watch way too many movies reading this thread.

Interesting find though :tu:

I would love to hear your your reason for disagreeing with me. Please explain!

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I would love to hear your your reason for disagreeing with me. Please explain!

Well, water forms and breaks up all the time. Dissolve anything in water and that's some gone. Likewise if you throw some free hydrogen and oxygen together, you'll form some more.

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Posted (edited)

I would love to hear your your reason for disagreeing with me. Please explain!

Well, water forms and breaks up all the time. Dissolve anything in water and that's some gone. Likewise if you throw some free hydrogen and oxygen together, you'll form some more.

I think both of you are slightly misinformed and confused. The onset of the age of groudwater starts from precipitation and percolation into groundwater. In very basic terms, the water they have found last went through the hydrological cycle 2.64 billion years ago (2.64 billion year old rainwater). The atmospheric tracers captured within the water from the time of recharge is what we measure to calculate the age. For me, the most useful thing about aging groundwater is that it gives useful recharge estimations for water balances. The fact that the water in Timmins mine has remained separate from modern day hydrological cycle has meant that the original composition and, therefore, microbiology should remain the same.

The major problem the mine has is that this aquifer will most likely need to be dewatered in order to proceed with mining (which, of course, the international scientific community would not allow). If you own shares in Timmins mine, I would seriously consider selling them!

Edited by goodgodno

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Posted (edited)

I think both of you are slightly misinformed and confused. The onset of the age of groudwater starts from precipitation and percolation into groundwater. In very basic terms, the water they have found last went through the hydrological cycle 2.64 billion years ago (2.64 billion year old rainwater). The atmospheric tracers captured within the water from the time of recharge is what we measure to calculate the age. For me, the most useful thing about aging groundwater is that it gives useful recharge estimations for water balances. The fact that the water in Timmins mine has remained separate from modern day hydrological cycle has meant that the original composition and, therefore, microbiology should remain the same.

The major problem the mine has is that this aquifer will most likely need to be dewatered in order to proceed with mining (which, of course, the international scientific community would not allow). If you own shares in Timmins mine, I would seriously consider selling them!

With respect, holding a degree in this subject, I don't think I'm misinformed. Everything you've stated is correct but, unfortunately, has no bearing on what we were discussing. It sounds like you have begun to study hydrology but not really followed everything.

Edited by Setton

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With respect, holding a degree in this subject, I don't think I'm misinformed. Everything you've stated is correct but, unfortunately, has no bearing on what we were discussing. It sounds like you have begun to study hydrology but not really followed everything.

"Dissolve anything in water and thats gone" - this is misleading, the water does not reduce. You have simply upped the concentration.

"Throw some free hydrogen and oxygen" - unfortunately this has no basis in nature and to actually do this artificially requires huge ammounts of energy.

I'm not sure what degree you have (chemistry maybe?), but I hold a degree in geology and a masters in hydrogeology along with 5 years experience of mining hydrogeology. I deal with water issues in mines all over the world on a daily basis for my job. I'd like to think that I followed on from my degree.

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"Dissolve anything in water and thats gone" - this is misleading, the water does not reduce. You have simply upped the concentration.

"Throw some free hydrogen and oxygen" - unfortunately this has no basis in nature and to actually do this artificially requires huge ammounts of energy.

I'm not sure what degree you have (chemistry maybe?), but I hold a degree in geology and a masters in hydrogeology along with 5 years experience of mining hydrogeology. I deal with water issues in mines all over the world on a daily basis for my job. I'd like to think that I followed on from my degree.

My degree is in Environmental Geoscience with an integrated masters. Might I ask where you studied?

As to your claims, obviously, these were simplified for non-scientists but if you want it i full, here's an example:

Pyrite Oxidation:

FeS2 + 3.5O2 + H2O = Fe2+ + 2SO42-+2H+

As you can see, the amount of water molecules has fallen to be replaced by sulphuric acid. There are any number of similar reactions and, as someone in the mining industry, it's a little disturbing you don't seem to know them. To simplify it, they're what messes everything up after you've gone.

It does take a lot of energy to form water just from free molecules. As for 'has no basis in nature', what the hell's all this wet stuff then? A simpler way to form more water is reversing a reaction as mentioned above.

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My degree is in Environmental Geoscience with an integrated masters. Might I ask where you studied?

As to your claims, obviously, these were simplified for non-scientists but if you want it i full, here's an example:

Pyrite Oxidation:

FeS2 + 3.5O2 + H2O = Fe2+ + 2SO42-+2H+

As you can see, the amount of water molecules has fallen to be replaced by sulphuric acid. There are any number of similar reactions and, as someone in the mining industry, it's a little disturbing you don't seem to know them. To simplify it, they're what messes everything up after you've gone.

It does take a lot of energy to form water just from free molecules. As for 'has no basis in nature', what the hell's all this wet stuff then? A simpler way to form more water is reversing a reaction as mentioned above.

Now pyrite oxidation is a little more complex and we are delving into slight differences in definition. Chemically you are absolutely right but the wider picture is that this sort of reaction just creates "contaminated water" which can be reversed using remediation techniques. I deal with mine closure as well so am well aware of the legacy of mining (thanks for that snide comment, by the way), although admittedly we have geochemists who specialise specifically in AMD so my knowledge does fall short on this topic.

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Now pyrite oxidation is a little more complex and we are delving into slight differences in definition. Chemically you are absolutely right but the wider picture is that this sort of reaction just creates "contaminated water" which can be reversed using remediation techniques.

The water ceases to be water. The fact that you call it that in mining for convenience does not change that. You can then create water from compounds such as sulphuric acid. My original point.

I deal with mine closure as well so am well aware of the legacy of mining (thanks for that snide comment, by the way),

Any time. Perhaps when people like me no longer have to tidy up your mess, we might gain some respect for you.

although admittedly we have geochemists who specialise specifically in AMD so my knowledge does fall short on this topic.

Hello :st

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You clearly don't have any grasp on the concept of hydrogeology and how to apply it to large groundwater problems. The oxidation of pyrite, for example, at the end of the day is releasing H+ INTO THE WATER that that then lowers pH and maintains the solubility of ferric iron. There is no magical transformation of the entire discharge, it is simply highly concentrated and highly contaminated.

Please, tell me a bit about yourself and your background in tidying up my mess? As I have already mentioned, I also assist with closure planning which is so often a requirement nowadays. If you are referring to historic mines that are currently polluting, I'm sorry but you are picking a fight with the wrong guy. Try going back 50 years.

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