Scientists are facing a puzzling discovery regarding Earth’s core, challenging existing beliefs about its sealed-off nature.
A recent study examining 62-million-year-old lava flows on Baffin Island in the Arctic Archipelago has revealed unusually high levels of helium-3 (³He), a rare isotope associated with the inner workings of our planet.
This finding has led to the intriguing possibility that Earth’s core may be leaking helium-3, suggesting a greater level of dynamism in the Earth’s deep interior.
What perplexed scientists in this study was the exceptionally high levels of ³He found in Baffin Island’s lava olivine rocks. The Earth’s mantle is not a static entity; it continuously brings lava to the surface while consuming parts of the Earth’s crust.
As a result, some of the ³He preserved within the planet has slowly escaped over time.
However, scientists have established a limit for how much ³He can be present in mantle-derived rocks. Anything exceeding this limit suggests an alternative source.
The logical implication is that the rock containing excessive ³He might originate from deeper within the Earth, possibly the core itself. This discovery challenges the conventional understanding that the core and outer layers of the planet, including the mantle and crust, are geochemically isolated, with minimal material exchange.
This finding lends credibility to the idea that material, particularly helium, may be leaking out of the Earth’s core, potentially reshaping our understanding of the planet’s inner workings.