Is the Earth’s core leaking? Scientists explain the mysterious phenomenon

Scientists have found helium-3 in volcanic rocks on Baffin Island, supporting the theory of Earth’s core leaking over millennia. With this, secrets about the formation of Earth also came to light.

As part of recent research, scientists have made a fascinating discovery that could provide fundamental insights into the formation and evolution of planet Earth.

They found a significant amount of helium-3 (3He), a rare gas, in volcanic rocks on Baffin Island in Canada. This surprising discovery suggests that helium-3 has been leaking from Earth’s core for millennia.

Helium-3 is a rare variant of helium and, in universe, is very scarce when compared to helium-4, for example. Helium-3 is more commonly found elsewhere in the cosmos, making its detection on Earth notable.

According to Forrest Horton, associate scientist in the Woods Hole Department of Geology and Geophysics, Earth has not produced or accumulated helium-3 in significant quantities, and this noble gas is lost to space as Earth cools.

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New evidence emerges about the origin of the planet

The detection of helium-3 leaking from the Earth’s core is fundamental to understanding the formation history of our planet.

A common theory holds that the Earth it originated in a solar nebula, a cloud of gas and dust, which collapsed due to a nearby supernova. This cloud contained helium-3, and its presence in the rocks of Baffin Island reinforces this theory.

The aforementioned scientist Horton and his team conducted research on Baffin Island in 2018, studying volcanic rocks that formed when Greenland and North America separated, creating a new seabed.

Traveling by helicopter to this remote landscape, they collected rock samples that could provide information about the contents of Earth’s core and mantle.

Baffin Island’s volcanic rocks revealed surprisingly high concentrations of helium-3 and helium-4. While helium-4 is common on Earth, helium-3 is scarce.

The team measured about 10 million helium-3 atoms per gram of olivine crystals in the rocks.

This suggests that gases inherited from the solar nebula during the formation of the solar system are better preserved on Earth than previously thought.

Helium-3: a window into Earth’s history

The research also raises questions about when exactly the helium-3 began to leak from the Earth’s core. With the Baffin Island lavas being around 60 million years old, this process may have started around 100 million years ago or even earlier.

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It is important to note that these helium leaks have no impact on the Earth or the environment, as the noble gas does not react chemically.

The research team is eager to investigate whether Earth’s core is also a storehouse of other light elements such as carbon and hydrogen. This could provide crucial insights into planetary evolution and the habitability of the planet. planet Earth.

The detection of helium-3 in the rocks of Baffin Island offers a fascinating insight into the history of Earth and its formation from a solar nebula.

These discoveries reinforce existing theories about the origin of our planet and open the door to new research that could reveal more secrets about Earth’s core and its influence on Earth’s evolution over time.