Russian scientists have discovered an underground river in the Sahara Desert, announced Valery Tutykhin, the director of the Institute for Geoinformational Analysis of the Earth, at a press conference today. According to Tutykhin, the Institute was working for an oil and gas concession in Mauritania in North Africa. At the Mauritanian Government's request, the Russian geologists undertook a search for underground fresh water reserves. The drilling was carried out by Mauritanian military engineers.
Tutykhin announced that, at the point identified by the Russian geologists, a hugely powerful underground river was discovered at a depth of 250 metres below a thick layer of volcanic rock. Three diamond drill bits were required to drill through the rock. 600 litres of water flow out of the ground each minute, which adds up to 36 thousand litres per hour. According to Tutykhin, the reserves are enough to meet all the fresh water needs of the nearby town of Atar, which has a population of 50 thousand. The reserves are also strategically important for the republic.
Anatoly Puchko, the head of the research group and deputy director of the Institute, said that the discovery of water beneath hard volcanic rock could be explained by an eruption of lava several thousand years ago, which followed the course of a powerful river, forcing it underground.