Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand
Image Credit & Copyright: Witta Priester
Groundwater found bubbling up from nearly two miles beneath the surface of Canada may predate the emergence of multicellular life, researchers announced today.
A joint British and Canadian team discovered the ancient pockets of water, which they say are like ‘trapped time capsules’ cut off from the surface for as long as three billion years.
It could be some of the oldest water on the planet and may even contain life, the researchers claim, as it contains an abundance of chemicals known to support organisms in the absence of sunlight.
More exciting still, the similarity between the rocks that trapped it and those on Mars raises the hope that comparable life sustaining water could be locked deep beneath the surface of the Red Planet.
Researchers from the universities of Manchester, Lancaster, Toronto and McMaster analysed the water which poured out of boreholes in a mine 7,875ft beneath Ontario, Canada.
‘These are like trapped time capsules,’ said Barbra Sherwood Lollar, a geochemist at the University of Toronto.
‘They may tell us about the atmosphere 2.7 billion years ago, and about the fluids that formed the valuable ore deposits that are the foundation of Canada’s mineral wealth.’
Geochemical reactions with the rocks means the water contains dissolved hydrogen and methane, as well as noble gases like helium, neon, argon and xenon, that have been trapped since early in Earth’s history.
These gases could provide energy for microbes that may not have been exposed to the sun for billions of years, the researchers say.
Project leader Chris Ballentine, of the University of Manchester, said: ‘Our finding is of huge interest to researchers who want to understand how microbes evolve in isolation, and is central to the whole question of the origin of life, the sustainability of life, and life in extreme environments and on other planets.’
Using ground-breaking techniques developed at the University of Manchester, the researchers say they have shown that the fluid is at least 1.5 billion years old, but could be significantly older.
It could even date back to the formation of the crystalline rocks surrounding the water, which are thought to be around 2.7billion years old - about half as old as the planet Earth itself.
Before this finding, the only water of this age was found trapped in tiny bubbles of rock, but the water found in the Canadian mine on the other hand pours from the rock at a rate of nearly two litres per minute.
It has similar characteristics to far younger water flowing from a mine 1.7 miles below ground in South Africa that was previously found to support microbes.
Dr Greg Holland of Lancaster University said: ‘Our Canadian colleagues are trying to find out if the water contains life right now.
‘What we can be sure of is that we have identified a way in which planets can create and preserve an environment friendly to microbial life for billions of years.’
Large regions of Mars are made up of terrain like that of the Earth’s Precambrian Shield – billions of years-old rocks with similar mineralogy.
Professor Sherwood Lollar said: ‘The ancient waters of the Canadian Shield contain abundant chemicals that we know microbes can use as energy in the absence of sunlight-driven photosynthesis.
‘This shows that ancient rocks have the potential to support life and this could be the case whether they are three kilometres below the Earth’s surface or below the surface of Mars.’
The Canadian Shield discovery pushes the age of water much farther back than the South Africa discovery, identifying a groundwater system isolated from the surface for billions, rather than tens of millions of years.
‘Our discovery establishes that ancient fluids, hitherto thought to have survived only in microscopic fluid inclusions trapped in the rocks, may instead still flow from ancient fractures,’ said Professor Sherwood Lollar.
Ummmm what!? This is one of the most idiotic and ironic posts I’ve seen. “Evolution is a religion”. Roflmfaoooo. Come the fuck on!! You’re at a loss?? We are all at a loss regarding your stupidity. Im telling you, Facebook has only helped show the world how ignorant people are. It is incredibly sad to say the least.
The front license plate literally says, “God is my co-pilot”.
This picture says it all.
How Do Astronomers Find Exoplanets?
It’s a good day when I get to feed spinach to a tortoise. Apparently he is able to bite your finger off. He got a little too close. :)
Black Hole-Powered Jets Plow Into Galaxy
This composite image of a galaxy illustrates how the intense gravity of a supermassive black hole can be tapped to generate immense power. The image contains X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), optical light obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (gold) and radio waves from the NSF’s Very Large Array (pink).
This multi-wavelength view shows 4C+29.30, a galaxy located some 850 million light years from Earth. The radio emission comes from two jets of particles that are speeding at millions of miles per hour away from a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. The estimated mass of the black hole is about 100 million times the mass of our Sun. The ends of the jets show larger areas of radio emission located outside the galaxy.
The X-ray data show a different aspect of this galaxy, tracing the location of hot gas. The bright X-rays in the center of the image mark a pool of million-degree gas around the black hole. Some of this material may eventually be consumed by the black hole, and the magnetized, whirlpool of gas near the black hole could in turn, trigger more output to the radio jet.
Most of the low-energy X-rays from the vicinity of the black hole are absorbed by dust and gas, probably in the shape of a giant doughnut around the black hole. This doughnut, or torus blocks all the optical light produced near the black hole, so astronomers refer to this type of source as a hidden or buried black hole. The optical light seen in the image is from the stars in the galaxy.
Image Credit: NASA
Someone just responded to one of my posts and said, “Who are you to say the universe isn’t made for us, we’re pretty massive in relation to an electron or a quark.”
That alone doesn’t mean the universe was made for us. Perhaps if you understood the size of the universe, which is practically impossible, then you might have a better idea about why I think it’s incredibly unlikely that this small planet orbiting a star that is one of a couple hundred billion stars in this galaxy, which is one of over a hundred billion other galaxies was made for just us. That just sounds like pure arrogance really. Or complete scientific ignorance. I’ll meet you halfway though and say that it is more likely that if there is some kind of creator, then said creator wouldn’t have put all the eggs in one basket, so to speak. There would be planets just like ours that were influenced just like ours.