Surprising New Findings in Lava Studies Suggest Earth’s Core is Leaking

By: | October 28th, 2023

Image courtesy Wikimedia commons

A team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has unearthed intriguing evidence hinting at a potential leak from Earth’s core.

Researchers on the Trail of Earth’s Core Secrets

In their groundbreaking study, the scientists found significantly elevated levels of helium-3 in rocks located on Baffin Island, raising the tantalizing possibility of Earth’s core leakage.

This discovery builds upon previous research that had detected trace amounts of helium-3 in Baffin Island’s lava flows. Helium-3, an ancient isotope dating back to the Earth’s formation, is typically confined to the core. Its presence on the surface suggests a potential escape from the core’s depths.

The research team conducted tests on multiple lava flows on Baffin Island. They discovered significantly elevated levels of helium-3, surpassing prior findings and exceeding levels found anywhere else on Earth. Moreover, they observed high helium-3 to helium-4 ratios in these rocks, the highest ever measured in terrestrial rock, further indicating potential core leakage.

Image courtesy: Horton, et al., Nature, 2023

Illuminating Earth’s Core Secrets in Nature

The confirmation of Earth’s core leaking helium remains a challenge in ongoing research. However, if substantiated, it may indicate that other materials in the vicinity also have core origins, offering a precious opportunity to gain insights into this historically enigmatic part of our planet.

The findings from this study were published in the journal Nature.


Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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