Scientists Discover Gigantic Freshwater Reservoir Hidden Beneath the Ocean

By: | July 2nd, 2019

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

A large freshwater reservoir has been discovered off the North East coast of the US, beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Columbia University’s Earth Institute announced about this rare find.

The exact size of reservoir is still a mystery; however it has been established that it stretches from Massachusetts to New Jersey. It roughly covers about 220 miles (350 kilometers)…making it probably the largest aquifer known yet.

According to researchers, the ‘fresh’ water lake may date back to the Ice Age.

How they discovered this vast reservoir:

Since 1970s, Oil companies have been drilling in the area in search of oil hotspots. Signals of the water first showed up in the 1970s, but nobody assumed that such a vast reservoir is trapped under the ocean.

Marine geologist Chloe Gustafson from Columbia University, said, “We knew there was freshwater down there in isolated places, but we did not know the extent or geometry,”

For mapping the water, researchers made use of electromagnetic waves. They dropped instruments to the seafloor for computing the electromagnetic fields below, along with a tool towed behind the ship that released artificial electromagnetic pulses and calculated the reactions from the sub seafloor.

Researchers explained that as salt water is a better conductor of electromagnetic waves than fresh water, so the freshwater stood out as a band of low conductance.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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