Rock on! Geologist drinks 2.6 billion-year-old water
June 21st, 2013
01:15 PM ET
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If you discovered water that could be millions or billions of years old, would you taste it?

Barbara Sherwood Lollar does it all the time. She's a geologist in the department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto, and collaborated with other researchers on analyzing water found in a Canadian mine in Timmins, Ontario. They published the findings in the journal Nature in May, showing that the water is between 1.5 and 2.6 billion years old.

Lollar dipped the tip of her finger in this water and tested it with her tongue. She found the ancient sample "very salty and bitter - much saltier than seawater."

But while this may sound horrifying, geologists often use their own senses in sampling, she said. It's not just for fun: They're working in dark environments with multiple fractures of water, and they know the waters they want to analyze further are the saltiest, as they're likely to be the oldest.

"If you're a geologist who works with rocks, you've probably licked a lot of rocks," she said.

ReadWhy geologist tasted 2.6 billion-year-old water

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Wellensteyn Zermatt

    Zwei Au�entaschen und eine �rmeltasche sind raffiniert in N�hte eingearbeitet und verschlie�bar. Die zwei Innentaschen sind ebenfalls mit Rei�verschl�ssen versehen. Der Kragen und die vordere Kante sind mit kuschelweichem Webpelz besetzt. Das Besondere dieser Jacke ist die angedeutete Innenjacke mit Stehkragen und Rei�verschluss, sowie die kleine auf den G�rtel gezogene Handytasche.
    Wellensteyn Zermatt

    October 18, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  2. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Don't we all?

    June 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Edwin

      Technically, yes; however this specfic water sample hasn't gone through the hydrologic cycle in 2.6 billion years, meaning this specific water sample is at it was that long ago, unchanged.

      June 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • JG

      Hehehehehehe. I don't thiiiiiiiink that's what Jdrizzle was alluding to, Edwin.

      June 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
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