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Hidden ocean found beneath Chinese desert


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Iron Lotus
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« on: August 12, 2015, 02:24:25 am »

Hidden ocean found beneath Chinese desert
Posted on Monday, 10 August, 2015


The Tarim basin is a dry and barren region. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Colegota
Scientists in China have discovered what appears to be a vast ocean beneath the arid Tarim basin.
Water can be found in some of the most unexpected of places and now the Tarim basin in northwestern Xinjiang, a region that is generally regarded as one of the driest places on Earth, appears to be hiding an entire ocean beneath its deceptively desolate surface.

The scientists behind the discovery have indicated that this hidden subterranean reservoir could contain ten times more water than all of the Great Lakes in the United States put together.

"This is a terrifying amount of water," said Prof Li Yan who led the study. "Never before have people dared to imagine so much water under the sand. Our definition of desert may have to change."

The water is thought to have accumulated below the desert thanks to melt water running down from the nearby mountains and while researchers had long suspected that they would find at least some water beneath the sand it hadn't been clear until now just how much there actually was.

The hunt is now on to determine if similar oceans could exist underneath other deserts as well.

   
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/vast-hidden-ocean-found-under-chinese-desert-1513423
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Iron Lotus
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2015, 02:25:26 am »

Vast hidden 'ocean' found under Chinese desert

    By Yasmin Kaye
    July 30, 2015 20:30 BST



Taklimakan Desert
Workers digging a well for underground water are dwarfed by the sand dunes of the Taklimakan Desert, 13 September 2003, outside of Tazhong, in China's northwest Xinjiang province.(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese scientists have discovered what could be a huge hidden ocean underneath one of the driest places on earth, the South China Morning Post reported on 30 July.

The Tarim basin in northwestern Xinjiang, China, is one of the driest places on Earth, but the vast amount of salt water concealed underneath could equal 10 times the water found in all five of the Great Lakes in the US.

"This is a terrifying amount of water," said professor Li Yan, who led the study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital.

"Never before have people dared to imagine so much water under the sand. Our definition of desert may have to change," he told the South China Morning Post.

Scientists had long suspected that a vast amount of melt water from nearby mountains had slipped beneath the basin, but the exact amount of water remained unknown.

Accidental discovery

Li's team made the discovery by accident. They had actually been looking for carbon dioxide, which is absorbed in certain areas - such as forests and oceans - called "carbon sinks."

Scientists study carbon sinks to gain a greater understanding of climate change.

Around 10 years ago, the team discovered that carbon dioxide had been disappearing into the basin for 10 years, but could not understand why.

After measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in samples from nearly 200 locations across the desert and comparing them to the carbon dioxide in melt water, they were able to calculate how much water had flowed into the basin.

"Our estimate is a conservative figure. The actual amount could be larger," Li told the paper.

The team will now work with other research scientists to see if other underground "oceans" could potentially exist underneath other deserts.

Li said it is likely large amounts of water will be found underneath the deserts, as the amount of carbon they potentially hold could be a trillion tonnes - the same amount of "missing" carbon on the planet.
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Iron Lotus
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2015, 02:26:00 am »

I've always wanted to be able to walk from Garden Grove to and now it looks like my dreams may finally come true.
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Waldron
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 02:28:29 am »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarim_Basin
Interesting. It appears that no water ever flows out of the basin, so when it gets underground, it stays there. This could make the basin into a breadbasket region.... at least for a couple decades till the water runs out.
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Amon Ra
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2015, 02:29:45 am »

Interesting. Now they should look under the surface of Mars I think since the whole planet is a desert.
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Firefly
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2015, 02:31:22 am »

If used wisely it could help with the desertification problems they have.
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