An ancient event caused the Earth’s crust to partially melt, creating openings that allowed the “treasure” of helium-3 from the planet’s heart to gradually escape.
New research from the University of New Mexico (USA) shows that an extremely rare type of helium (helium gas) that belonged to the proto universe 13.8 billion years ago is actually hidden in the Earth’s core and is constantly creeping up bit by bit. one through a number of cracks
According to Live Science, most of the helium-3 in the universe was created shortly after the Big Bang. Some of the early helium-3 combined with other particles of gas and dust in the Solar Nebula—the molecular cloud from which the Sun and other planets orbit it.
Leaking Earth’s core, “released” helium-3 carries many secrets about planet formation— photo: shutterstock
Therefore, this finding also strengthens the hypothesis that the Earth formed very early in the early solar system, right during the period when the solar nebula was thriving, not as a “born after” planet. late birth” when the nebula has weakened.
Geophysicist Peter Olson, lead author of the study, says helium-3 is a helium isotope that has only 1 neutron in its nucleus, instead of 2. It is an extremely rare gas, making up only 0.0001% of all the helium on Earth
New research shows that about 2 kilograms of helium-3 escapes from the Earth’s core, leaking to the surface each year, mainly along the inter-oceanic ridge system where tectonic plates meet.
Scientists have not been able to calculate exactly how much helium-3 comes from the core, how much comes from the mantle and how many “treasures” from this early universe are still hidden on our planet. But according to leak models, there must be at least 10 million tons to 1 billion tons of helium-3 buried in the core.
This leak could have come from more than 4 billion years ago, when a Mars-sized planet slammed into Earth, sending out a plume of gas and dust that would later coalesce into the Moon. This event melted part of the original Earth’s crust, so helium-3 has a way of finding its way to the surface.
Tracing this treasure, scientists hope to answer many puzzles related to the origin and formation of our planet.
The study has just been published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.