15 votes

Wow! Huge Reserves Of Freshwater Recently Discovered Beneath The Ocean Floor


By Antonio Pasolini

December 11, 2013

Scientists in Australia have reported the discovery of huge freshwater reserves preserved in aquifers under the world's oceans. The water has remained shielded from seawater thanks to the accumulation of a protective layer of sediment and clay. And it’s not a local phenomenon. Such reserves are to be found under continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.

The discovery was made by researchers at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the School of the Environment at Flinders University. The scientists estimate there is around half a million cubic kilometers of what they describe as “low salinity” water, which means it could be processed into fresh, potable water economically.

The reserves formed when ocean levels were lower and rainwater made its way into the ground in land areas that were not covered until the ice caps melted 20,000 years ago, causing sea levels to rise.

"The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we’ve extracted from the Earth’s sub-surface in the past century since 1900," says study lead author Dr. Vincent Post. "Our research shows that fresh and brackish aquifers below the seabed are actually quite a common phenomenon."

To access these non-renewable water reserves, it would be necessary to drill into the seabed from man-made, offshore platforms or from the mainland or nearby islands. Despite the high costs involved, the water would require less energy to desalinate than it does to desalinate sea water, although a careful assessment of the economics, sustainability and environmental impact of the exploration of such water reserves would be necessary.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Alternate beginning to Waterworld?

Dry land is not a myth! I've seen it!

Drought resistant farm


We should be doing this all over the country, thanks for posting this

Maybe this is a silly question but...

...if the earth gets drilled into too deeply, is there a danger that the earth could somehow "crack apart"?

For the record, I have no idea how deep "drilling beneath the sea floor" is. So maybe this is completely a non-starter.

I don't know

about "cracking" apart exactly but think about "sink holes"

Daughter of 1776 American Revolutionists

that picture makes everything

that picture makes everything alright

Except Off California

Where offshore drilling is prohibited because it's ugly.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

Acutally it's prohibited

Acutally it's prohibited partly because they're concerned that it may involve drilling through an active fault on the plate boundary.

They imagine a scenario where the fault slides during an earthquake, shearing the borehole, leaving the lower part connected to the fault plane while the upper part moves over a bit. The oil would come up into the fault plane, spread out, and leak out to the ocean floor along miles of fault/floor intersection. It would not be patchable through the borehole, of course, because the upper section has moved on. So you'd get a continuous oil spill that would run for decades or centuries, with the oil floating up and then blowing onshore all along the coast.

(Not that there aren't already a number of near-shore oil seeps without human intervention to create them, feeding ocean life in various spots all over the globe.)

It's also prohibited because they're eco-wackos and think oil is baaaaaaaaaaaaad for the earth and all its creatures and shouldn't be used.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

Actually it's not prohibited

Santa Barbara and long Beach are drilled and and pumping out crud (CA Crude). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offshore_oil_and_gas_in_California

Lake Vostok, a fresh water lake sealed under Ice for 15 million

The largest fresh water reserve in the world, sealed under thousands of feet of Ice for 15 million years, life survives.

I have a hunch it may be better to properly manage our above ground freshwater resources than to be drilling the deep water aquifers, but that's just me.

You'd have to let that baby

You'd have to let that baby 'air our' and breathe a little, Hey?

I understand the Russians drilled through it

I don't know what technology they used, there was a concern for cross contamination, but can you imagine the pressure that water must be under? What life that could be living there after 15 million years?

Life does FINE under

Life does FINE in water under pressure. (It's just stuff with air bubbles in it, like us for instance, that has a problem.)

There's a whole ecosystem in the deep ocean spreading-trenches (including crabs and shrimp specialized for this), living off the chemicals ejected from the low-level vulcanism and the sulfur bacteria that metabolize it.

Several miles of water, at about a half PSI per foot of depth, is about as high a pressure you're going to get in liquid water on the Earth.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

I hope this is true..

and pops this horrible man's pretty red profit balloon

nestle ceo states water is not a human right

Peter Brabeck, former CEO and now Chairman of Nestlé, thinks we'll run out of water faster than we will oil, unless we change how much it's considered a human right.


Daughter of 1776 American Revolutionists

News Flash!

He is full of sh!t.
It's called rain. You can catch it with your roof and it's free :)

"You only live free if your willing to die free."

Swimming pools, not barrels

Swimming pools?

Swimming pools? Dats just silly. Build a cistern of course. It stems evaporation. Global warming really O.o
Man made global warming is a myth and co2 is good for trees.

"You only live free if your willing to die free."


I'm like that character in the James Bond movie:

"Why does mankind waste time exploring outer space, when so much of the ocean has yet to be discovered"

Because there's even more

Because there's even more interesting stuff out there and it's a LOT easier to get to.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

This could head off wars

We are rapidly approaching overt power struggles between nations over fresh water supplies.
We already have countries and corporations maneuvering to control water supplies.