Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Discovery may lead to new theories of life on Mars, other worlds

A pocket of water some 2.6 billion years old recently discovered in an old mine in Canada two miles beneath the earth's surface. The discovery marks the most ancient pocket of water found by far, older even than the dawn of multi-cellular life. The remarkable find has raised new theories about similar oases that may exist on Mars, or on other planets.

Geoscientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar at the University of Toronto  and her colleagues have investigated deep mines across the world since the Eighties.

Geoscientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar at the University of Toronto and her colleagues have investigated deep mines across the world since the Eighties.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Water, microbiology, prehistory, Canada, Mars


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Water is able to flow into fractures in rocks, allowing them to become isolated deep in the crust for many years. These specimens then serve as a time capsule of what their environments were like at the time they were sealed off.

In gold mines in South Africa 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) deep, scientists discovered microbes that were able to survive in pockets of water isolated for tens of millions of years.

These reservoirs were many times saltier than seawater, "and had chemistry in many ways similar to hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the ocean, full of dissolved hydrogen and other chemicals capable of supporting life," Geoscientist Barbara Sherwood Lollar at the University of Toronto says. Sherwood Lollar and her colleagues have investigated deep mines across the world since the Eighties.

Sherwood Lollar and her crew began to investigate copper and zinc mines near the city of Timmins in Ontario, Canada. "As the prices of copper, zinc and gold have gone up, mines now go deeper, which has helped our search for long-isolated reservoirs of water hidden underground," Sherwood Lollar says.

"Sometimes we went down in cages - they're not called elevators underground - that dropped us to the levels we wanted to go," she says. "Other times, we went down ramp mines, which have curling spiral roadways, so we could actually drive all the way down."

The scientists analyzed water they found two miles deep. Focusing on noble gases such as helium, neon, argon and xenon, the team acknowledged past studies analyzing bubbles of air trapped within ancient rocks.

Since these rare gases occur in distinct ratios linked with certain eras of Earth's history, these samples have been essential in tracking the planet's prehistory.

The scientists discovered the fluids were trapped in the rocks between 1.5 billion and 2.64 billion years ago.

"It was absolutely mind-blowing," Sherwood Lollar says. "These weren't tens of millions of years old like we might have expected, or even hundreds of millions of years old. They were billions of years old.

"We walked along what used to be ocean floor 2.7 billion years ago. You could still see some of the same pillow lava structures now seen on the bottom of the ocean."

However -- Sherwood Lollar emphasizes they have not yet found any signs of life in the water from Timmins. "We're working on that right now," she said. "It'd be fascinating to us if we did, since it'd push back the frontiers of how long life could survive in isolation."

"Finding life in this energy-rich water is especially exciting if one thinks of Mars, where there might be water of similar age and mineralogy under the surface," Sherwood Lollar said.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

Ancient salamander, thought to have roamed Earth 170 million years ago found by Chinese ranger Watch

Image of After keeping it in a temporary tank, Xiao released the creature back into the river, watched by a crowd of tourists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A park ranger in south China named only as "Mr. Xiao" has caught an enormous Chinese salamander. It is acknowledged as the world's largest living amphibian and is known as the "Living Fossil," as it has remained unchanged for 170 million years. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scientists discover annoying foam packing peanuts can now be used for something other than trash Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Foam peanuts that constantly clutter your room and fill up the trash, after a package arrives, could actually be useful. This new discovery, presented at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), was researched by a team from ... continue reading


Giant crocodile ruled the Earth long before dinosaurs Watch

Image of Carnufex, meaning

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A nine-foot-tall monster with blade-like teeth at one time strolled through the warm and wet environs of what is now known as North Carolina some 230 million years ago. The Carnufex carolinensis, as known by its scientific name, was active long before dinosaurs ... continue reading


Rapidly thinning Antarctic glacier 'appears unstoppable' Watch

Image of The Totten Glacier is larger and thinning faster than all the others in East Antarctica are.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Everyone is now aware about the rapidly melting polar icecaps. Scientists have raised concerns about a large, rapidly thinning glacier in Antarctica. Researchers have discovered two openings that could channel warm seawater to the base of the huge Totten ... continue reading


EXTREMELY SEVERE DROUGHT: California is not only up a creek without a paddle - it's loosing the creek as well Watch

Image of California has been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the East Coast was battered with rain, sleet and record snowfall, California faced the driest January on record, ever since records began to be taken in 1865. With snow packs in the mountains at all time lows, the state's drought has many people wonder if ... continue reading


SEA MONSTER: Massive 14-foot stingray declared world's largest caught fish Watch

Image of After getting the ray alongside, it was then taken into a specially prepared pen. It took seven people to lift the ray out of the water so it could be properly measured.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A massive, 14-feet stingray recently caught by two anglers has since broken the world's record for the largest freshwater fish caught by rod and line. The gigantic, flat fish bearing a poisonous barb measured over eight feet in width, 14 feet in length and ... continue reading


AMAZING DIVERSITY: 1,451 new marine species identified in our oceans in a single year Watch

Image of Biologists also identified two new species of dolphin last year. One was found near Papua New Guinea and the other in a Brazilian river. Sadly, both are already threatened by anglers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is nothing new under the sun... or is it? The finite capabilities of man would deduce that after centuries of science and exploration, humankind would know everything there is to know about the various life forms on this planet. Scientists have proven ... continue reading


Rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle washes up on South Carolina beach Watch

Image of Treatments appear to be helping. Aquarium officials said the turtle was more energetic earlier this week than when it was first admitted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle washed up on a South Carolina beach this past weekend. Marine biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium are currently treating the turtle who they named "Yawkey." Discovered on the Yawkey-South Island Preserve, a ... continue reading


BUSTED! A-list Climate Change deniers go nuts in emails over documentary that exposes ties to fossil fuel industry Watch

Image of Despite the obvious signs, a number of scientists continue to insist that global warming isn't happening.

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

An A list of "climate change deniers" has been released, exposing the connections that climate change denial scientists have to the fossil fuel industry and other private firms that are literally paying them for their denial. The leaked emails stem from a documentary ... continue reading


Extinct bird remarkably reappears after 70 years gone Watch

Image of The team observed several babblers at different locations in the area for two days, according to an official release.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A small brown bird, the Jerdon's babbler was last seen in Myanmar in 1941. Presumed extinct, the babbler has made an unexpected comeback. Naturalists are boy busy resurrecting the bird from the list of animals thought to have vanished from the Earth. LOS ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the ... Read More

Psalm, Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:45-57
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 28th, 2015 Image

St. Venturino of Bergamo
March 28: Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter