A research team has found helium-3 – a noble gas that is very rare on Earth – in 60 million-year-old lava rocks. Does it really come from the ground?
Baffin Island – Baffin Island, located between Canada and Greenland, is the fifth largest island in the world. The island is of great interest geologically, for example, volcanic rocks were discovered there a few years ago which consist of 4.5 billion year old material from the Earth’s interior.
In the Vergangenheit have ben Forscherinnen and Forscher auf der Baffin-Insel bereits Spuren von Helium-3 in Lavagestein enteckt – for Fachleute in äußerst spannender Fund, denn im Gegensatz zu Helium-4 ist Helium-3 in Isotop, das auf der Heute äußerst selten he. It was widespread when the Earth formed and became trapped in the Earth’s core. If it was discovered on the surface of the Earth, it is very likely that it came from within the Earth.
Is there a leak in the Earth’s core? The research team examines the lava rocks
Is it possible that the Earth’s core is “leaking”? To explore this idea in more detail, the research team re-explored lava rocks on Baffin Island and said they found much higher concentrations of helium-3 than previous studies. More precisely: Researchers discovered the highest ratio of helium 3 to helium 4 ever measured in Earth rocks.
“Our high 3He/4He measurements indicate that gases that may have come from the solar nebula during the formation of the solar system are better preserved on Earth than previously thought,” explains Forrest Horton. Reverse CNN. The researcher participating in the study, Dr In the specialized magazine nature published He continues: “Helium-3 is rare on Earth because it is not produced in large quantities on the planet and is lost to space. When the rocky part of the Earth moves and moves like hot water on a stove, the material rises, cools and sinks. During the cooling phase, helium is lost to the atmosphere and then to outer space.
Helium-3 from the Earth’s core appears to rise to the surface
But how did helium from the ground get into the studied lava, which is about 60 million years old? The research theory goes back much further into the universe’s past, to the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. During the Big Bang, marking the beginning of the universe, large amounts of hydrogen and helium were released into space. When the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago, helium was likely trapped in the Earth’s core during the Earth’s formation.
Helium-3 rose from the Earth’s core and reached the Earth’s surface through magma that erupted during volcanic eruptions on Baffin Island 60 million years ago. Horton explains it this way: “During the eruption, most of the gases released from the magma escaped into the atmosphere.”
It is unclear how long helium-3 escapes from the Earth’s core
The new study supports the theory that helium-3 is leaking from the Earth’s core and has been for some time, but researchers are unsure how long this has been going on. “The lava is about 60 million years old, and it probably took tens of millions of years for the mantle plume to appear,” Horton said. “So the helium that we measured in these rocks may have escaped from the core 100 million years ago, or perhaps much earlier.” (unpaid bill)
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