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The discovery of a 6-million-year-old underground fossil “pool” in Sicily |  Sciences

The discovery of a 6-million-year-old underground fossil “pool” in Sicily | Sciences

Using deep oil well analysis and advanced 3D subsurface modeling techniques, researchers have discovered a 6-million-year-old “fossil pool” buried beneath a mountain range on the island of Sicily, Italy.

The presence of this underground feature in the Gela Formation, a Triassic carbonate platform beneath the surface of southern Sicily, was described November 22 in the journal. Earth and Environment Communications.

The Gila Formation is a well-known oil reservoir and hosts several deep wells. Using public data from these wells, the researchers studied the site’s deep groundwater reserves.

Discovery of an aquifer on the Italian island of Sicily. – Photo: Reproduction/INGV

The team discovered an aquifer, built 3D models of it, and estimated that it contains 17.5 cubic kilometers of water, more than twice the amount found in Loch Ness, Scotland. The water reserve is located at a depth of between 700 and 2,500 meters under the Hebelin Mountains.

Origin of the aquifer

But how was this aquifer formed? Researchers believe fresh water was trapped underground during the Mycenaean salinity crisis. During this period, the Mediterranean dried up after the ocean floor around the Strait of Gibraltar began to rise, isolating the sea.

According to the account In the current situation Geologist Lorenzo Lipparini, a researcher at the University of Malta and co-leader of the study, said that the level of the Mediterranean Sea 6 million years ago reached 2,400 meters below current sea level, “creating favorable conditions for rainwater infiltration and accumulation and the preservation of this precious groundwater.” “. Water Resources.”

Lipparini explained, in an email to the site, that “fossil groundwater deposits” accumulated in a layer of carbonate rock that acts as “a kind of sponge, where fluids are present in the pores between the rock particles.” Live Science.

The geologist and his colleagues hope that fresh water can be pumped in to alleviate the current water shortage in Sicily. “Deep groundwater sources around the world represent an important potential source of unconventional water, which can support growing needs, also associated with global population growth,” he says.

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The aquifer water can have a variety of uses, from consumption to industrial and agricultural purposes, “which opens new horizons for southern Sicily and other coastal areas on the Mediterranean,” according to the researcher.

He adds: “Thanks to the results achieved, it will now be possible to try to identify possible new accumulations also in regions such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Malta and Cyprus, to name a few.”