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Thread: Prebiotic water??????

  1. #1 Prebiotic water?????? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Reference : New Scientist, 5 July 2014, page 8

    Scientists have now found several sources of deep underground water that appears totally sterile. This water contains sulphurous gases, hydrogen and methane, which are all that is requires to support certain bacteria. But they are not there. In addition, analyses based on isotope ratios indicate this water is billions of years old. Uncontaminated by life.

    Is this water from the time before life first appeared on Earth? If so, is it a clue to the kind of chemistry that later led to the development of the first life?


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    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    But is it drinkable?


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  4. #3  
    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    But is it drinkable?
    No. One of the discoverers tried a sip and reported it to be putrid.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  5. #4  
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Reference : New Scientist, 5 July 2014, page 8

    Scientists have now found several sources of deep underground water that appears totally sterile. This water contains sulphurous gases, hydrogen and methane, which are all that is requires to support certain bacteria. But they are not there. In addition, analyses based on isotope ratios indicate this water is billions of years old. Uncontaminated by life.

    Where were the samples obtained?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  6. #5  
    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    A deep, untouched cave.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    The first sample was from a mine in Timmons, Onrario, Canada, 2 kms deep. Two more mines in Sudbury, Ontario, have yielded the same results.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    How far down have microbes been found? Was an attempt made in the lab to introduce life to this water, if so did it flourish?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Zinj
    I am aware that bacteria have been found deeper than this.
    I do not know the answer to your second question.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Zinj
    I am aware that bacteria have been found deeper than this.
    I do not know the answer to your second question.
    If they do introduce life to a sample and it survives then that will change the story somewhat. Might it be a partial clue to the recipe for life, meaning what's missing? Water without life or water without life because an ingredient or condition is missing?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    To zinj

    I seriously doubt life is missing because some nutrient is missing. There are bacteria that can survive on almost anything, if liquid water, carbon, and an energy source is present. This water is liquid, and contains sulphur compounds, hydrogen and methane. Plenty of carbon and plenty of energy.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    But is it drinkable?
    No. One of the discoverers tried a sip and reported it to be putrid.
    Putrid is hardly the right word to describe the water.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Barbara Sherwood Lollar, an Earth sciences professor at the University of Toronto, described the water in a report published last month in the journal Nature. She discussed the prehistoric liquid with the Los Angeles Times.

    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.
    source
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  14. #13  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To zinj

    I seriously doubt life is missing because some nutrient is missing. There are bacteria that can survive on almost anything, if liquid water, carbon, and an energy source is present. This water is liquid, and contains sulphur compounds, hydrogen and methane. Plenty of carbon and plenty of energy.
    I wasn't thinking nutrient. Not sure what, perhaps something we wouldn't think of, some outside agency (not supernatural). Like bake at 250 degrees and stir every 30 seconds.

    In the Common Ancestor Questions thread, we touched on the subject of a different kind of life form, not associated with we are commonly used to seeing. How would we know that this water isn't harboring something along those lines?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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