Friday, December 27, 2013

The discovery of vast offshore fresh groundwater reserves (i.e., under the seafloor)

Recently, in the journal Nature, scientists and researchers Vincent E. A. Post, Jacobus Groen, Henk Kooi, Mark Person, Shemin Ge, and W. Mike Edmunds published a study entitled "Offshore fresh groundwater reserves as a global phenomenon."  

The study can be read online here, which allows you to see the first page, and read the rest for a fee of $3.99, but you can also read some of the many articles discussing the importance of this new finding for free online, such as this one, and this one, and this one, and this one.

Reader Terry B., who has alerted me to important new discoveries many times in the past, notified me of this important new development soon after the study was published near the beginning of this month and noted that it seems to be yet another piece of evidence which supports the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown.  

Sure enough, Dr. Brown agrees that the new finding of large amounts of relatively fresh water (fresher than seawater) trapped underneath the seafloor along the offshore continental shelves around the world is a finding that is difficult to explain using conventional theories, but one that accords quite well with the hydroplate theory.  Dr. Brown has already mentioned this important new discovery, in the section on this page of his book (which is available in its entirety on the web, or for purchase in hardbound print edition here) entitled "Earth's Major Components," where he writes:
Low-salinity water is being discovered far below continental shelves worldwide.  Why would water, typically less salty than sea water, be found beneath the sea floor?
At the end of that question, he provides a footnote (footnote 6) to the article published earlier this month in Nature discussing the vast offshore reserves of fresh water being discovered below the surface of the continental shelves (at depths of up to 3000 meters beneath the seafloor).

While scientists had long known of the existence of some subsurface freshwater discharge from onshore reserves which penetrated out into the shelf offshore, it was previously assumed that such intrusions were fairly limited in scope, both around the world and in terms of how far out from the shore they could reach.  The authors of the new article conducted tests which indicate that the phenomenon of fresh water beneath the seafloor is extremely widespread, found on continental shelves around the globe, and that these trapped pockets of water can be found extremely far out from shore -- at least as far as 100 kilometers from shore, and possibly further!  

The amount of fresh water trapped beneath the surface on continental shelves may be 500,000 cubic kilometers, or 120,000 cubic miles of fresh water -- a hundred times more than all the water that mankind has extracted from aquifers beneath the surface onshore since 1900, according to lead researcher and author Dr. Vincent E. A. Post!  That much fresh water cannot be explained by simple groundwater discharge from onshore sources, the article explains, and so another mechanism must be proposed.  But what could account for so much fresh water trapped beneath the surface of the continental shelf, which itself is beneath the salty ocean?

The study's authors propose a possible mechanism: during ice ages, sea levels were much lower, and so areas now offshore were once on land.  These areas collected rainwater (called "meteoric" water), and then later when the ice ages came to an end (or, more precisely, an "interglacial" period in between ice ages), that meteoric groundwater was trapped below the surface as the sea levels rose -- and it is still there today.  For this reason, the recent article calls these newly-discovered freshwater reserves offshore "Vast Meteoric Groundwater Reserves" or VGMRs.

There may be some problems with this explanation, such as the question of how the ground that was porous enough to let the freshwater in during the glacial period, became such an excellent sealant that the freshwater was able to stay mostly fresh once the glacial period ended and the salty seawater filled back in over it.  Certainly that could have happened in some unique conditions, but how could it have happened over such a vast extent of the continental boundaries, and to distances of over 100 kilometers from the present shore?

We have already seen in previous discussions that the hydroplate theory does argue that the sea level was in fact much lower, in the centuries immediately following the catastrophic flood (the flood which left so much evidence around the planet that it is very difficult to deny that it took place).  During those centuries, the combination of warmer oceans and colder continents did in fact lead to much greater levels of precipitation, and to an Ice Age, and so some aspects of the proposed mechanism from the article in the journal Nature may have taken place.  But, such runoff would hardly explain the vast amounts of water being discovered today, and its ability to remain much less salty than the ocean above for so many years. 

The hydroplate of Dr. Brown, which has a habit of already being ready to provide excellent explanations for evidence that scientists discover years after Dr. Brown published his predictions, has a very good explanation for the fresh water that is now being detected.  In the caption to Figure 59, found on this page of his online book and reproduced above, Dr. Brown explains where all that fresh water might have come from (and, at the same time, why continental shelves are found on the edges of the continents worldwide -- something that tectonics does not really have a good way of explaining).  Referring to the diagram shown above (in terms of "left" and "right" as the viewer looks at the image), he writes:
The velocity and erosion power of escaping SCW [supercritical water] increased to the right and as it jetted upward.  This beveled the edges of each hydroplate, forming today's continental shelves and continental slopes.  Because the water's pressure decreased as it approached the right edge, the hydroplate sagged downward, constricting flow and increasing erosion even more.
During the flood, thick layers of sediments blanketed the granite crust.  Included in those sedimentary layers were aquifers -- deep, permeable, sedimentary layers filled with generally salt-free water.  Today, some of those aquifers lie below the continental shelf which constitutes part of the sea floor.
Also, before the flood, much of the SCW water in the subterranean chamber migrated into the spongelike openings (blue dots) in the chamber's roof and floor.  As temperatures in the SCW exceeded about 840 degrees F (450 degrees C) its dissolved salt precipitated (out-salted, as explained on page 122).  Therefore, it should not be surprising that low salinity water is found under the sea floor, but most geologists are surprised.
Certainly more study of the newly-discovered phenomenon of VGMRs is warranted before we can tell which explanation is a better fit for the majority of the evidence.  However, it would certainly seem that the discovery of these vast reserves of fresh water may well constitute yet another example of a geologic phenomenon which causes conventional theories some difficulty, but which accords well with the events proposed by the hydroplate theory.