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Monday 30 January 2017

The Universe in 101 words: Where's the oldest water?

Sea water is old – it arrived as part of the planetesimals that formed the Earth.

But it isn’t the oldest water there is.

In 1998 a meteorite landed in Texas which was once part of a protoplanet - one warm enough for water to flow beneath it’s surface. The water left behind purple salt crystals and, inside them, some of that 5 billion year old water was trapped. When the meteorite was studied, the trapped water was found – and so we know what those alien waters were like, even though they dried up millions of years before Earth was born

Above: The trapped bubbles of water, as imaged by microscope.

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