Thursday, June 27, 2013

Don't Drink the Water! Well, Not Much of It, Anyway...

You may remember me going a bit gaga over some old water in Canada.

Specifically, I'm talking about two billion year old water trapped within some rock in Timmins, Ontario.

Well, most people would just let that go.  I mean, that was last month's news.

But I'm not most people.

Nope.  I'm the type of person that can't let something interesting go.  Not at all.  That includes water older than the dinosaurs.  Thankfully, I was rewarded.  I went to check up on it, and I found an interview with a University of Toronto Earth Sciences professor via the LA Times.

Deborah Netburn, you rock!

Netburn, obviously, was the person that conducted the interview with the aforementioned professor named Barbara Sherwood Lollar.

I was in geogeek heaven.

Netburn was very thorough, asking about the water's age, point of discovery, and potential for holding ancient life, as well as asking about how this may guide research dealing with the possibility of water trapped within rock beneath the surface of Mars.


One point that was particularly fascinating to me, but probably only because I have a tendency to lick rocks when identifying them (Hey!  That's the easiest way to differentiate siltstone and mudstone, darn it!), was the look, texture, and taste of the water.

Yep.  Lollar totally tasted the water.

I think I'm in love...

I'd explain it to you myself, but I think this can be handled best in the words of Netburn and Lollar themselves:
What is very, very old water like?
What jumps out at you first is the saltiness. Because of the reactions between the water and the rock, it is extremely salty. It is more viscous than tap water. It has the consistency of a very light maple syrup. It doesn't have color when it comes out, but as soon as it comes into contact with oxygen it turns an orangy color because the minerals in it begin to form — especially the iron. (source)

How cool is that??? 

Alright... it's not something you want to drink.  At all.  Lollar goes on to explain that it's even more salty than sea water, and all I can say to that is a very simple


I may pass on licking the rocks that held that water.

No comments:

Post a Comment