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Twenty thousand years ago, life on Earth was a lot cooler. It was the end of a 100,000 year ice age — also known as the Last Glacial Maximum — and solid sheets of ice covered much of North America, Northern Europe and Asia. (If they already have at the time, New York, Berlin and Beijing would have buried in the ice.)
Scientists are used for the study of this cold period in the history of the Earth by looking at things such as coral, fossils, and sediments on the sea floor, but now has a team of maritime researchers have found that a piece of the past, that blows all others out of the water: a actual sample of 20,000-year-old sea water, squeezed from an old rock band from the Indian Ocean .
According to the researchers, who described the find in a study to be published in the July 2019 issue of the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, this is the first direct remnant of the ocean, as it appeared during Earth’s last ice age.
The researchers found from their watery price during the drilling in the sediment core samples from the underwater limestone, which in the Maldives archipelago in the South of Asia. After the pull of each nucleus on their research vessel, the team cut up the rock like a tube of cookie dough and place the pieces in a hydraulic press that squeezed any remaining liquid out of the pores. [Photos: Traces of an Ancient Ice Stream]
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When the researchers tested the composition of these freshly squeezed water samples on board of their ship, they were surprised to see that the water is extremely salty — much saltier than the Indian Ocean is today. They did more tests on the country to look at the specific elements and isotopes (versions of elements) out of the water, and all the results seemed out of place in the modern ocean.
In fact, everything about these water samples indicated that they came from a time when the sea was considerably saltier, colder and more chlorine — exactly as it is thought to have been during the Last Glacial Maximum, when the ice sheets sucked up ocean water and decreased the level of the sea to hundreds of meters below its current level.
“From all indications, it seems pretty obvious, we now have a real piece of this 20,000-year-old ocean,” lead study author Clara Blättler, an assistant professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, said in a statement.
If these results indeed hold water, the new samples are the first direct look at how the ocean responded to the geophysical fluctuations of the last ice age. This insight can lead to a better climate models to understand our own changing world, Blättler said, as “to build a model of the climate is able to accurately predict the past.”
Note: At the time of this article’s publication, no one had yet the petition to drink of the old ocean juice.
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Originally published on Live Science.