Extremely rare gas leak formed during the planet's birth discovered on Earth
Researchers have discovered that a surprisingly rare gas, helium, escapes through the Earth's crust into our planet's atmosphere and then into space. It is the second most abundant element in the known universe, yet it is surprisingly rare on Earth.
This is stated in a study published in Nature. Helium is the only element that is completely non-renewable on our planet.
Helium is an extremely scarce gas for humanity. We extract it from natural gas deposits in the Earth's crust. Such deposits are slowly formed, rising through the Earth's layers, eventually dissipating in the atmosphere, and then the gas escapes into outer space.
At the same time, we don't even know approximately how much helium is left in the interior of the planet. The theory is that, since it has not completely disappeared over billions of years, the Earth's core may be releasing it from much larger but not yet discovered reserves.
Some confirmation of this has come from scientists at the California Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who studied samples taken from 62 million-year-old lava fields in the Baffin Islands in Canada and Iceland. They found that the samples contained surprisingly similar concentrations of helium isotopes. According to Futurism, this suggests that they come from the same source, which is most likely deep underground, and slowly leaking out over time.
Helium could not only unlock the mystery of the Earth's early days but could also potentially help scientists better understand the Earth's extremely inaccessible core. If the core is leaking, we may have another way to study the processes taking place in it and learn something about how planets like ours formed from a swirl of dust and primordial gas.
Scientists believe that the source of helium in the studied lava fields in Canada and Iceland may come from the Earth's core. They came to this conclusion after taking into account the presence of other noble gases such as neon, which coincides with the conditions that were present when the Earth was still actively forming billions of years ago.
Scientists hope that if they are right about the source of the gas, it can provide invaluable information about the processes and conditions that existed at the time of the emergence of our planet.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA spoke about the first creatures to appear on the Earth.