Extremely Ρare, Primordial, Gas leaks from the Earth’s Core!

An extremely rare type of helium created shortly after the Big Bang is leaking from the Earth’s metal core, according to a new modeling study. The vast majority of this gas in the universe, called helium-3, is primordial and formed shortly after the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago.

This helium-3 must have joined the other gas and dust particles in the solar nebula – the vast, spinning, and collapsing cloud that is thought to have led to the formation of the solar system.

The discovery that the Earth’s core probably contains a huge helium-3 reservoir is further evidence to support the idea that the Earth formed in a thriving solar nebula, not in its periphery, the researchers said. Helium-3 is “a natural wonder and an indication of Earth’s history that there is still a significant amount of this isotope inside the Earth,” said study lead author Peter Olson, a geophysicist at the University of New Mexico.

Helium-3 (helium-3) is an isotope, or variant, of the helium that has one neutron instead of the usual two at its core. It is a rare gas, accounting for just 0.0001% of the sun on Earth. It is derived from various processes, such as the radioactive decay of tritium, a rare radioactive isotope of hydrogen. But because the sun is one of the first elements in the universe, most of helium-3 probably came from the Big Bang.

The scientists already knew that about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of helium-3 escapes from the Earth’s interior each year, mainly along the ridge system of the middle ocean where the tectonic plates meet, the researchers wrote in the study, which was published online in March 28 at Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

But scientists were unsure exactly how much helium-3 came from the nucleus opposite the mantle and how much helium-3 was in Earth’s reservoirs. To investigate, the team modeled helium abundance during two important phases of Earth’s history: the early formation of the planet, when the sun was still accumulating, and the formation of the moon, when our planet lost much of that gas. Scientists believe the moon formed when a colossal object the size of Mars collided with Earth about 4 billion years ago.

This would have melted the Earth’s crust and allowed much of the sun inside our planet to escape. However, the Earth did not lose all of its helium-3 at that time. It still retains some of the rare gas, which continues to leak from the Earth’s depths. The core would be a good place for such a reservoir, “because it is less vulnerable to high impacts compared to other parts of the Earth system,” the researchers wrote in the study, and is not involved in the tectonic plate cycle, which also releases gas gas.

The researchers combined the modern helium-3 leakage rate with models of helium isotope behavior. These calculations revealed that between 22 billion pounds (10 telegrams) and 2 trillion pounds (1 pound) of helium-3 hang in the Earth’s core – a huge amount, indicating that the Earth formed in a solar nebula with high gas concentrations.

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