Scientists have found a gigantic freshwater aquifer hidden deep under the sea.
The surprising discovery, from a recent exploration of the underwater surface from the northeastern US coast by researchers from Columbia University, seems to be the largest formation of this type anywhere in the world – ranging from Massachusetts to New Jersey and extending continuously for about 50 miles to the continental shelf.
Researchers said that if it was discovered on the surface it would create a lake that covered about 15,000 square kilometers.
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"We knew there was fresh water out there in isolated places, but we did not know the scope or geometry", senior author Chloe Gustafson, doctoral student. candidate at Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a press release. "It can prove to be an important resource in other parts of the world."
Scientists used measurements of electromagnetic waves to map the water, which is stuck in porous sediments located below the sea.
The water extensions begin at about 600 feet below the seabed and bottom out at about 1200 meters, researchers say, and it is assumed that they hold at least 670 cubic million of fresh water.
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Scientists have a theory of how water came under the seabed as they shared in a press release:
"15,000 to 20,000 years ago, against the end of the last ice age, where much of the world's water was locked in mild ice, in North America it stretched through what is now northern New Jersey, Long Island and the New England coast, sea levels were much lower, showing much of what is now When the ice melted, sediment formed huge rapids on top of the shelf, and fresh water stuck there in scattered pockets. Later the sea rose. "Scientists also said that if the water were ever to be consumed for consumption, it would have to be desalted.
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] "We probably don't have to do that in this region, but if we can show there are big aquifers in other regions that can potentially represent a resource "in places like Southern California, Australia, Mideast or Saharan Africa, co-authors and geophysicists are studying Kerry Key in a statement.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.