You can age-date it, using radiometric methods including radiocarbon and tritium dating and other approaches.
rigibson is correct. However, first of all, its important to know what fossil water is. Fossil water is ancient water that has been trapped underground for thousands and thousands of years. There are ways of finding out where this ancient groundwater is, but it is based mainly on estimates made by scientists – in fact, a lot of people who drill wells to obtain water might be drinking fossil water without knowing it. Fossil water is non-renewable, and it is drying up in some regions of the world – mainly in dry places like the Middle East where water is scarce. This is a concern to some scientists, because as groundwater levels around the world change – whether it is from depletion of fossil water or not – this changes the gravitational pull of the Earth itself. According to a NASA study, human beings are using fresh water faster than it can be replenished. If you think you are tapping into fossil water, I would check with the water company in your area. It is important to differentiate between replenished groundwater and fossil water, but its something that generally should be done by professionals who can say for sure whether it’s fossil water or not. Since fossil water has been sitting for so long under the ground, it can be full of hard metals such as aluminum which are not good to be drinking on a regular basis. Usually you can tell if you are drinking fossil water if it tastes aweful, mainly because it’s full of minerals and devoid of oxygen – things that are not characteristic of water people customarily drink. Whether it is safe to be drinking in your area, I do not know – the minerals it has been exposed to over thousands of years I would assume, vary depending on where you find it.
Scientists have to look for “radioactive isotopes that have been present in Earth’s atmosphere only since humans initiated the nuclear era.” It is important to date the water, especially in semi-arid areas, because fossil water cannot be replenished. While desert nations like Jordan and Libya are obvious users of fossil water found in their aquifers, many others might be using fossil water thinking they are using replenishable water found in their wells. Mike Edmunds of Oxford says that of typical 320 ft deep wells it is possible that “only the top couple of meters…are recent water.”
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