Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Huge freshwater reserves beneath the ocean

  1. Dec 9, 2013 #1
    Scientists discover huge freshwater reserves beneath the ocean

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2013 #2
    As always, the Devil is in the details. How saline is "low-salinity". Desalinization plants using ordinary saline sea water are in use all over the world. Would the decrease in salinity of this sub-surface supply produce enough savings to compensate for the added expense of drilling and pumping?
  4. Dec 12, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I also wonder if another problem might be that pumping large amounts of water out of such areas might cause collapse that would harm coastal cities, if the areas are close to the shore edge of the shelf. Just a thought.
  5. Dec 12, 2013 #4
    Since the deposits are underwater, I think it more likely that sea pressure would simply force sea water in to replace the withdrawn less-saline water. For the most part, our continental shelf is fairly porous. It would have to be, to hold the less saline water.
  6. Dec 12, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Area of continental land masses is ca. 150 million sq. km.; area of continental shelves is ca. 4 million; volume of ground water is estimated to be 20 million cu. km. (give or take) --- half million in shelf aquifers is about right. Who wants to tell us there are no marine organisms that depend on fresh water seeps, springs, or other seafloor outlets?
  7. Dec 13, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Good point. It would imply another problem though, which is that as fresh water is drawn out it would be replaced by seawater, thus leading to greater salination of the fresh water. At first that wouldn't be a problem, but it could become one.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Huge freshwater reserves
M 6.6 Quake SSW of New Zealand and huge T-phase