Hidden Beneath the Ocean, Scientists Find Mysterious Freshwater Reservoir

“We knew there was fresh water down there in isolated places, but we did not know the extent or geometry,” lead author Chloe Gustafson, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory revealed in a press statement.

“It could turn out to be an important resource in other parts of the world.”

Reachers have stumbled across a massive freshwater reservoir hidden deep beneath the ocean in what has been hailed as a surprising discovery.

The find, made possible thanks to a  new study of the sub-seafloor off the northeast U.S. coast by experts from the Columbia University, seems to be the largest underwater reservoir discovered anywhere in the world.

It is so vast that it extends from Massachusetts to New Jersey and stretches out continuously some 50 miles to the edge of the continental shelf.

Had this massive reservoir been discovered on the surface of the planet, it would be like a massive lake covering more than 15,000 square miles.

Scientists were able to map out the reservoir using electromagnetic waves.

The water is trapped in porous sediments located beneath the ocean.

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The water deposits were identified around 600 feet below the ocean floor, and stretch down to around 1,200 feet.

The reservoir is believed to hold around 670 cubic miles of fresh water.

As for how the water got down there, scientists believe they’ve got it figured out.

Researchers revealed that: “Some 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, toward the end of the last glacial age, much of the world’s water was locked up in mile-deep ice; in North America, it extended through what is now northern New Jersey, Long Island, and the New England coast. Sea levels were much lower, exposing much of what is now the underwater U.S. continental shelf. When the ice melted, sediments formed huge river deltas on top of the shelf, and fresh water got trapped there in scattered pockets. Later, sea levels rose.”

Researchers have also revealed that if we were ever to use the water for consumption, we would need to desalinate it because over time freshwater tends to mix with the ocean water.

The research paper, ‘Aquifer systems extending far offshore on the U.S. Atlantic margin,’ is available from the authors or https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44611-7

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