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Scientists Map Huge Undersea Fresh-Water Aquifer Offshore U.S. Atlantic

Continuing with articles on water as the world awaits the results of COP27.

Another interesting discovery by geologists from Columbia University: a huge underwater aquifer offshore the Atlantic coast of the United States, which extends continuously over at least 350 km of the Atlantic coast of the US and contains about 2800 km3 of low salinity groundwater. And depending on future research, if the aquifer extends farther north and south, it could rival the large Ogallala Aquifer, which provides vital groundwater for a relevant part of the United States (see reference in yesterday's post, comparing with the NCP North China Plain aquifer).

Using new electromagnetic geophysical methods in shallow waters, geologists could evidence the connection between the onshore hydrological system and these offshore aquifers. As such, they believe that water accumulated in two different ways:

  • "Fossil melt" water. From the melting of what was trapped in rocky sediments at about the end of the Ice Age, about 15,000 years ago

  • Fed by rain, in addition to bodies of water that seep into the earth's sediments.

Salinity of aquifer water near the coast is the same as terrestrial fresh water: less than 1 part per thousand salt. However, its aquifer outer edges it can reach 15 parts per thousand, which even below typical seawater with 35 parts per thousand of salt, would need a desalination process for consumption.

The group of geologists and geophysicists hopes to expand research and assess aquifers in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East, southern California and Australia.

Click on the image below for the Press Release in Columbia Climate School's State of the Planet, including a link to the work published in Scientific Reports.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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