"I found on the surface, it will create a lake protecting some 15,000 sq. miles", her group wrote in its report. More recently, he made a decision to see if the same approach can be turned to spotting freshwater deposits in the area. Another procedure was to use an apparatus behind the ship, helping them to emit artificial electromagnetic pulses for recording responses from the sub-seafloor.
Thirsty?"We knew there was fresh water down there in isolated places, but we did not know the extent or geometry", said lead author Chloe Gustafson, a PhD candidate at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. So, in 2015 he and study co-researcher Rob Evans, a senior scientist of geology and geophysics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in MA, spent 10 days at sea, taking measurements off the coast of southern New Jersey and Martha's Vineyard in MA. The new study suggests that this is not the only hidden deposit of fresh water, but that there could be many more around the world waiting to be found.
They found freshwater to be continuous, starting from the shoreline and extending out to the continental shelf.
The water deposits delivery up at spherical 600 toes below the ocean floor and backside out at about 1,200 toes, researchers acknowledged, and it be believed that they care for at the least 670 cubic miles of fresh water.
"It could turn out to be an essential resource in different parts of the world", Gustafson says.
While it's still unclear how the mysterious freshwater aquifer got trapped beneath the Atlantic Ocean, researchers have a theory.
He added that the aquifer is freshest close to shore and gets saltier farther out, indicating that it slowly mixes with seawater over time. As temperatures rose and the ice covering the U.S. Northeast melted, water washed away huge quantities of sediments, which formed river deltas on the still-exposed continental shelf.
Conceptual model of offshore groundwater.
This aquifer might have begun as fossil water, but it also seems to still be replenished by modern underground runoff from land, the study suggests. Near the ocean, though, groundwater in coastal sediments may be pumped toward the sea by the rising and falling pressure of tides overhead, explains study co-author and Columbia geophysicist Kerry Key, who compares the process to soaking up water through the sides of a sponge by pressing up and down on it. In North America, these ice sheets extended through northern New Jersey, Long Island, and the New England coast.
Scientists additionally acknowledged that if the water was as soon as to ever be processed for consumption, it would possibly would possibly maybe additionally mute be desalinated. In coastal areas, there is plenty of undrinkable saltwater, while desalination is costly. This discovery could help mitigate the problems of water scarcity in arid areas that are on the brink of running out of water.
"We probably don't need to do that in this region", Key says, "but if we can show there are large aquifers in other regions, that might potentially represent a resource".