Given the wonder of bottled water, not to mention the amazing invention that is *the tap*, there’s really no need to go around drinking water any older than a day or two.
I get that all water is recycled in some way or another, but there’s still a difference between fresh and old, and pockets of water in Timmins, Ontario provide the perfect example of that.
It was trapped in thin fissures amid a granite-like rock, and scientists were able to determined that it could be as old as 2.6 billion years.
Given that there was absolutely no such thing as a tap or bottled water back then, most people would probably agree that this isn’t a liquid for drinking. But apparently professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar isn’t most people.
As lead researcher, Lollar found herself up close with the water and decided to give it a try.
So, have you ever wondered how some of the world’s oldest water tastes? Well, to no one’s surprise, it’s apparently ‘terrible’.
Describing the flavour of the liquid to the LA Times, the scientist said the first thing that jumped out at her was something no one wants from a beverage: saltiness.
“Because of the reactions between the water and the rock, it is extremely salty,” she said.
“It is more viscous than tap water. It has the consistency of a very light maple syrup. It doesn’t have color when it comes out, but as soon as it comes into contact with oxygen it turns an orangy color because the minerals in it begin to form — especially the iron.”
Lollar advised other people that you would ‘definitely not want’ to drink it, but in spite of this she apparently tried it on more than one occasion, saying: “I have to admit I have tasted it from time to time.”
To be fair to the professor, she did have her reasons as she explained: “We are interested in the saltiest waters because they are the oldest, and tasting is the quick-and-dirty way to find which are the most salty.”
Little did Lollar know, it would only be three years before scientists discovered what they believed to be even older water in the same area, thought to be at least 500 million years more ancient than the earlier finding. It’s unclear how that one tasted, but given how bad the first was, I’m guessing it’s not good.