If you dive deep enough off the northeastern coast of America, you'll discover something surprising under the Atlantic: freshwater.
A gigantic aquifer, mainly along the coast from New Jersey to Massachusetts, is located below the seafloor. It contains at least 2,800 cubic kilometers of fluid. That's enough water to fill 1.1 billion Olympic swimming pools.
(Courtesy of Nature.com/GMT) [19659004<Thereisalsothelargestknownunderwaterfreshwateraquiferoftheearthbutthemostimportantisthepresenceoffreshwateraquifersthroughouttheworldasapotentialsourceofnaturalresourcesinapopulationofgrowingpopulation
The discovery was made by researchers from Columbia University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution They investigated the ocean floor Northeast Coast of the US, as revealed by the study published last week in the journal Scientific Reports.
By the 1970s at the latest, companies in the region were drilling for oil on the seabed, sometimes bumping into freshwater pockets, but it was unclear how much water was down there.
"We knew there were some fresh water down there, but we did not know the circumference or the geometry," Chloe Gustafson said. a doctorate. Candidate at Columbia University and lead author of the study, said in a statement. "It could turn out to be an important resource in other parts of the world."
It was created after the Ice Age.
In 2015, Kerry Key, a geophysicist at Columbia University, and Rob Evans, a geologist and geophysicist, set up specialized tools near the old oil wells at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to measure electromagnetic fields and water map. Since fresh water is not as good for electromagnetic waves as salt water, the fresh water stuck out.
Their research revealed that the aquifer, which is about 600 feet below the seafloor, ran from the coast up to 75 feet from the coast.
How did the fresh water get there? The researchers suggest that the freshwater in the aquifer is ice that has melted after the last ice age and caught in rocky sediments. They also believe that the aquifer is fed by subterranean drains from the shore.
Gustafson, Key and Evans hope their research can be used to locate other underwater coastal aquifers around the world that could "represent a potential resource in coastal regions". Freshwater resources have declined.
The fresh water in the aquifer still needs to be desalinated before it can be used for drinking water, as the water is slightly salty, as it mixes somewhat with the saltier seawater.