Helium-3, a strange gas formed just after the Big Bang, could be leaking from the Earth’s core, says research led by the University of New Mexico.
Scientists believe that Helium-3 was produced 13.8 billion years ago, about the same time as the universe. According to research, liters of this true “wonder of nature” escape from the center of our planet.
Experts think that the fact that this prehistoric gas seeps out provides evidence about the early natural history of the Earth. “As a planet grows, it accumulates material from its surroundings, so its composition reflects the context in which it formed. To obtain high concentrations of Helium-3 deep in the core, the Earth would have to have formed within a thriving solar nebula, not on its fringes or during its waning phase.
The work was published in Advancing Earth and Space Science and explains where the reserves of Helium-3 are distributed on our planet. However, scientists don’t know how much of this prehistoric gas there is today.
“Each year about 2,000 grams of Helium-3 escapes from Earth, enough to fill a globe the size of your desk. It is a wonder of nature, and a clue to Earth’s history, that there is still a significant amount of this isotope in the Earth’s interior.”