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Barbara Lollar Discovers Oldest Water On Earth Dated back To 1.6 Billion Years

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Geologist Barbara Sherwood Lollar discovered the oldest water on Earth- dated back to 1.6 billion years. This discovery might just solve one of humanity’s biggest unanswered questions, that is, “could there be life on other planets?”

The 58-year-old Canadian geologist is also a professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Earth Sciences. She was recently honoured with the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering from the Research Council of Canada.

Sherwood On Discovering The Oldest Water On Earth

The first hint that led to the suspicion of the uniqueness of the water was when the lab researchers said, “Our mass spectrometer is broken. This can’t be right,” when she asked about an update with the research.

“The tests pegged the mean age of the samples, extracted from a mine north of Timmins, Ont., in 2009, at 1.6 billion years old—the oldest ever found on Earth.”

The Canada Research Chair in Isotope Geochemistry of the Earth believes that the ancient water might help answer a question, that is, could there be life on other planets?

“If there are any biomarkers, indicators of past life, they’ve gotta be in the subsurface, We no longer think of life on Earth as this smear of biology on the surface. Life may be something that deeply permeates our planet,” quotes the geologist.

The musty smell of the water adds to its unique features. Sherwood comments on this feature by saying, “to find the crack where the water is discharging, it literally follows your nose right up to the rock. However, locating the highly alkaline fluid, up to 10 times saltier than seawater, requires more than a schnozz.”

Apart from her abovementioned honour, Sherwood holds a reputed career with awards such as the Canada Council for the Arts – Killam Prize for Natural Sciences in 2020, NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal in 2019, Fellow of the Royal Society London in 2019, NSERC John C. Polanyi Award in 2016 and the Eni Award, 2012.

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Barbara Lollar Discovers Oldest Water On Earth Dated back To 1.6 Billion Years
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