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Experts concerned Earth’s core is leaking as mystery element detected in lava sample

Britt Jones

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Experts concerned Earth’s core is leaking as mystery element detected in lava sample

Featured Image Credit: Fpm/Christoph Burgstedt/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Scientists have made a shocking discovery which has brought up some concerning questions about the world we live in.

There have been continued efforts to research Earth and its general makeup to find out more about how the universe and this planet came to be, but new matter has revealed something that left scientists baffled.

After tests on ancient lava revealed that there could be a chance that the Earth’s core is leaking, researchers and geochemists published their findings in a scientific journal Nature.

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Scientists found high levels of helium-3 in ancient lava. Credit: NASA
Scientists found high levels of helium-3 in ancient lava. Credit: NASA

It all began when studies of 62-million-year-old lava still flowing on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Archipelago were found to have a strange amount of helium-3, which is a rate isotope linked to the insides of our planet.

But what does this mean for us?

It means that the Earth’s core could be leaking into this matter, which is something that has never been seen before.

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This is because the core was thought to have been geochemically isolated from the outer layers, meaning that they couldn’t ‘leak’ into one another.

The study that changed this perception was carried out by geochemists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and California Institute of Technology, and their discovery went on to cause a rift within the scientific community.

Scientists who wanted to know more, went on to gather readings from Baffin Island’s historic ancient lava flows and what they found was significant.

The lava showed the highest ratios of helium-3, helium-4 and a third isotope ever found in terrestrial volcanic rocks.

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Finding the trace of helium-3 is no small feat, according to the research team.

The lava findings could prove that the Earth's core is leaking. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
The lava findings could prove that the Earth's core is leaking. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

This is because this element is very rare as it doesn’t last long once it comes up from the surface.

When helium-3 rises, it soon goes into the atmosphere and into space, so, if it's found on the surface now, it’s likely that it came out of the core.

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A geochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Forrest Horton went on to explain to VICE: “We know very little about Earth's core, other than that it exists. This makes studying the core both intriguing and frustrating.”

"Traditionally, the core and outer layers of our planet (mantle and crust) were presumed to be geochemically isolated (i.e., material does not transfer back and forth) Increasingly, scientists have been challenging this notion.”

But the ‘exciting’ findings have suggested that the Earth’s core and inner layers hold a lot more information than once thought.

Though, Horton believes that research is far from over and that what his team found has created a whole new dynamic.

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He said: “In many ways, our study raises more questions than it answers, so there is a lot of work to do.”

Topics: Technology, Science, Space, News, Weird

Britt Jones
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