Evidence of Earth’s Core Leak into Space Uncovered by Scientists

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Billions of years ago, when Earth coalesced into a celestial body, its core locked away inert gases like helium and neon, among others. Directly probing the Earth’s core remains beyond the reach of current scientific capabilities, and this prospect isn’t anticipated in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, through several indirect indicators, scientists have come to realize that gases from the Earth’s core are slowly escaping into the atmosphere and venturing into space.

Previously, researchers had stumbled upon elevated concentrations of the isotope helium-3 (3He) in samples of ancient lava flows. However, little significance was attributed to this discovery until a group of geochemists from Canada and the United States decided to actively hunt for 3He in samples of relatively young lava, approximately 62 million years old, extracted from basaltic lava on Canada’s Baffin Island. In these samples, the 3He content was almost 70 times higher than that found in the air. This suggests that the helium isotope couldn’t have seeped into the rocks from the atmosphere but rather from another, evidently subterranean source.

Image source: Nature

The mantle, typically considered as a helium source, was ruled out as a candidate, as helium, over the course of billions of years of Earth’s volcanic activity, would have predominantly escaped from the planet. Consequently, scientists concluded that helium is likely permeating from the Earth’s core, entering the magma, and being carried to the surface through its conduits, ultimately making its way into the atmosphere and beyond, into space.

Studying traces of inert gases from the unfathomable depths of the Earth may serve as an additional tool in bringing us closer to understanding how our planet formed, its composition, and the processes shaping it.

Author Profile

Vasyl Kolomiiets
Vasyl Kolomiiets
I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.

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