Scientists have discovered large amounts of helium-3 in Canada. This discovery seems to indicate that the Earth’s core is leaking, because the material is usually found deep in the Earth. Helium 3 is not dangerous and is even very useful.
Scientists examined volcanic rocks on Baffin Island, an island located in northern Canada. They found 62 million-year-old minerals containing helium-3. They describe their research in the leading scientific journal nature.
Previously, scientists in Iceland found roughly the same amounts of helium-3. This, according to the researchers, proves that gas is leaking from the same place (the Earth’s core) to different places on the surface.
Helium-3 is a so-called isotope, which is another form of the element helium. It is very rare on Earth’s surface, but it occurs underground. Helium-3 is stable, meaning it is not radioactive and poses no danger to humans. It is used in nuclear fusion research. This focuses, among other things, on the search for clean energy.
The gas was created during the Big Bang, approximately 14 billion years ago. When the Earth formed about four billion years ago, the helium-3 cloud became “trapped” at the core of our planet. The rest of the Earth formed around this center.
The Earth’s core is extremely hot and there is incredible pressure. Man does not yet have the technology necessary to travel to the core of the Earth. Because the gas is higher, we can still study the Earth’s interior. This way we can learn more about how the Earth appeared.
The helium-3 is likely being “pulled” upward in bubbles by Earth’s moving mantle, which is made up of molten rock. It comes to the surface by magma and lava flows. As a result, they are found in places where volcanoes are active.
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