July 13, 2024

Researchers discover evidence of Earth’s ‘leaky’ core

Researchers discover evidence of Earth’s ‘leaky’ core

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Baffin Island in Canada holds a geological secret. The rare discovery may be evidence of a previously unknown feature of the Earth’s core.

Baffin Island – Is the Earth’s core leaking? To verify this hypothesis, a research team re-examined lava rocks on Baffin Island. It found much higher concentrations of helium-3 than previous studies. More specifically, scientists discovered the highest ratio of helium 3 to helium 4 ever measured in Earth rocks.

Baffin Island, located between Canada and Greenland, is the fifth largest island in the world. It is an important subject of study for geologists, due, among other things, to the discovery of volcanic rocks, which consist of 4.5 billion year-old material from the Earth’s interior. In the past, scientists discovered traces of helium-3 in lava rocks on Baffin Island – a very interesting discovery for experts.

In contrast to helium-4, helium-3 is a very rare isotope on Earth today. It was widespread when the Earth was forming and then became trapped in the Earth’s core, which is as hot as the surface of the Sun. If it is found on the surface of the Earth, it is very likely that it came from within the Earth.

Is Earth’s core “leaking”? The discovery of helium 3 seems to indicate this

Is Earth’s core “leaking”? A new study supports this theory. (Avatar) © IMAGO/Panthermedia

“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.

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Helium-3 gas leak on Baffin Island

But how did helium from the Earth’s interior get into the analyzed lava, which is about 60 million years old? Scientists’ hypothesis goes back much further in the history of the universe, to the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. With the Big Bang, 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 may have been stored in the Earth’s core during Earth’s formation.

Helium-3 rose from the Earth’s core and reached the Earth’s surface through magma that rose during the Baffin Island eruption 60 million years ago. Horton explains it this way: “During the eruption, most of the gases from the magma escaped into the atmosphere.” Current research supports the assumption that helium-3 escapes the Earth’s core and does so for a long time – however, they disagree. Scientists are not sure how long this has been going on.

Since when has the Earth’s core been leaking?

“The lava is about 60 million years old, and it probably took tens of millions of years for the mantle plume to appear,” Horton says. “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)

Automated assistance was used in writing this article by the editorial team. The article was carefully examined by editor Tanya Banner before publication.