What is very, very old water like?
What jumps out at you first is the saltiness. Because of the reactions between the water and the rock, it is extremely salty. 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.
So you've tasted it?
I have to admit I have tasted it from time to time. It tastes terrible. It is much saltier than seawater. You would definitely not want to drink this stuff.
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. I don't let the students do it, though.
Nearly 1.5 miles beneath Earth's surface, scientists have found pockets of water that have been isolated from the outside world for 1 billion to 2.6 billion years.
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