Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Columbia University
The scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic and Columbia University were on a vessel sailing from New Jersey to Massachusetts. They were trying to analyze electromagnetic waves. During this expedition, they discovered something amazing.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
WHOI has been around for 89 years, and it is their goal to learn more about marine life. They also study the geological process at the heart of our planet by investigating our oceans. It is the largest organization of its kind in the United States. At any time, the organization has a number of vessels on oceans all over the world. They have many watercrafts, including two large research boats and a few smaller ones. They also have many autonomous crafts capable of traveling underwater. Because two-thirds of our planet is made up of water, the WHOI believes their work is critical.
Hidden secrets of the ocean are being revealed all the time. One example is aquifers that have been found on the seafloor. An aquifer is an area of rock beneath the ground that can hold water. When they are found under land, they hold water that has seeped into the earth from rain or snow.
Two Types of Aquifers
There are two main types of aquifers. The first is an unconfined aquifer. This type is topped with a rock that allows the liquid to pass. These don’t often fill with water. A confined aquifer is found between two slabs of impermeable rock. They are full of water, usually from a lake or a river. Water can be trapped using wells.
Aquifers will be essential in the future. If the world’s population of freshwater dries up due to overpopulation, climate change, or industrial factors, the water found in these places will be essential for the human race to go on. Fortunately, scientists have discovered an enormous fresh water ocean hidden under the Atlantic. This 2013 discovery was huge.
According to Dr. Vincent Poast, a researcher heavily involved with the research stressed the potential of these water supplies. He says that the volume of water resource is 100 times greater than the amount of freshwater that we have extracted from the sub-surface of the Earth since 1900. He says that his research has shown that fresh and brackish aquifers below the seabed are relatively common. According to experts, around 120,000 cubic miles of water can be found in these hidden places. The water in this area contains very low salt levels. This means that it can be easily treated to make it suitable for humans to drink.
Experts believe that these hidden water supplies were created when the ocean levels were lower than what they currently are. It is thought that 20,000 years ago, the planet’s ice caps started to thaw and the sea levels rose. When this happened, the fresh waster remained under the deeper oceans, between layers of sediment.
Dr. Post believes that rain had something to do with it. When it rained, the water would go into the ground, and fill up the water table in the areas that today, are under the sea. He says that it happened all over the world, and when the sea level rose, the icecaps melted, which covered them with ocean water.
Tapping Into the Supply
Tapping into the water supply beneath the ocean is much more complicated than tapping into a supply from the land. Dr. Post says that there are two ways to do this. First, you would need to build a platform out at sea and drill into the seabed. You could also drill from the mainland or the islands close to the aquifers. He added that these areas could not be disrupted while drilling for oil. The only way to protect the Earth if there is a global drought is to have the water sources in place when we need them.
All Over the World
Experts believe that the aquifer found between the coasts of Massachusetts and New Jersey spans about 50 miles. However, they are sure that there are others around the world that are much larger. It is believed that there could be these hidden water sources that measure about 15,000 square miles. The fact that there is all of this freshwater hidden beneath the water is comforting, considering that we need clean water to live, and if something were to happen, we wouldn’t need to worry about a lack of water. This find is very significant to the future generations who may not have access to water the way that we do today. As long as the aquifers aren’t disrupted due to oil drilling, or before we need them, we will have a water supply if something drastic occurs.