Oldest water discovered, according to articles in Nature News 15 May 2013 and Nature vol. 497, p357 16 May 2013. A team of Canadian and British scientists claim to have found water that has been preserved in rocks deep in the earth’s crust for between 1.5 and 2.67 billion years. This makes it the oldest water so far found. The water was found deep in a copper and zinc mine in the Timmins, Ontario area of the Canadian Precambrian Shield.

The scientists estimated the age of the water using isotopes of Xenon combined with theories of what the earth’s atmosphere was like in the past, assuming the water had preserved a record of fluid chemistry and environmental conditions at the time it was isolated in the rock. As well as xenon and other noble gases, the water also contains hydrogen and methane, and the researchers are now studying it to see if it could support life. If so, the researchers suggest: “The discovery that ancient fluid environments capable of supporting life can remain isolated for hundreds of millions to billions of years may require changes in our understanding of the extent of the Earth’s crust that may be habitable, and the part that such potential buried biomes play in preserving, evolving and propagating life on planetary timescales.”

The finding has implications for the search for life on Mars, which has “tectonically quiescent geologic terrains” similar to Precambrian shields on Earth. The researchers suggest that “similar potential buried biomes may be preserved at depth in the subsurface of Mars on planetary timescales.”

Nature News

Editorial Comment: Amazing! A leap of faith from water in a Canadian mine to life evolving on Mars. Earth-bound scientists have yet to find any life in this water, let alone on Mars. It is possible there are bacteria living in this water, but if scientists do find any that will only prove bacteria can survive in water deep within rocks. It will not prove it evolved there. Water and chemicals alone cannot make life, on earth or Mars. To make life you need information to organise basic chemicals into the more complex chemical components of the living organisms, as well as much more information to put these together in the correct way. Such information does not come from chemicals. It is only known to come from the mind of an intelligent Creator. (Ref. ground water, geochemistry, abiogenesis)

Evidence News 22 May 2013