In 1992, a 29-year-old geologist Barabara Sherwood Lollar went on an expedition to Kidd Creek mine in the city of Timmins, Canada. 17 years later, the mine called Lollar again and this time, she returned with something special which was going to be groundbreaking in Geology.
Lollar had collected a water sample, of which the musty smell she found following through her nose. It had led her through cracks and fractures and right up to the rock where it was discharging. When the sample was gone for testing, she called the in-charge researcher to ask about the results. “Our spectrometer is broken, this can’t be right,” he said. Finally, the water was found to be 1.6 billion years old. The findings were published in December 2016 by American Geophysical Union.
Lollar’s discovery has gained momentum again, as she has published a recent study in which she with fellow scientists, points that these findings could lead us to clear proof of the existence of life in subsurfaces of Mars if groundwater exists there. It had been already proven that groundwater had existed on Mars as the planet has several features that were a result of the presence of groundwater. They found that many Martian meteorites are capable of sustaining the bacteria that were found in the ancient isolated groundwater beneath the Earth.
The journey to the ancient water takes an hour of travelling and constitutes cage elevators, battery-powered train rides and a corkscrew-shaped ramp. The mine, owned by Glencore, a multinational company, is “one of the deepest and longest scientific observatories for fluids and deep microbiology in the world,” told Lollar to Maclean’s magazine. The mine has seabed that has been preserved for billions of years.
According to 59-year-old Lollar, life on earth cannot be seen as a phenomenon limited to the earth’s surface. It is something that deeply permeates our planet’s existence. Her study that links mars’ subsurfaces to the billion-year-old water sample was published in Astrobiology journal in April 2021.