Scientists are hoping water found near Timmins, Ont., that is more than a billion years old can provide insight into the possibility that life once existed on Mars.
Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, a University of Toronto geochemist, first found the ancient salt water 2.4 kilometres underground in Kidd Creek Mine in 2009.
It took Sherwood Lollar’s team four years to verify the age of the water. They then began sampling it for microscopic life. Four to five years later, they confirmed that microbes lived in the water.
The discovery “opened up our understanding of the frontiers of the planet,” the geochemist said.
Sherwood Lollar has been sampling water in mines across Canada, in southern Africa and northern Europe for about 34 years. She knew that mines had salty water and wanted to understand why.