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Aug 1 / Dave Schumaker

New Way to View Earth’s Interior

Physorg.com has a new article up that details how collaborations with physicists have yielded a new method to examine the Earth’s interior, using subatomic particles from the decay of Uranium/Thorium. These particles are named “geoneutrinos,” and can be detected in a way similar to how solar neutrinos are detected. These geoneutrinos provide information that seismic analysis of the Earth’s interior cannot, such as the chemistry of various materials below the crust. Geoneutrinos, in contrast, provide crude information about chemistry. “Essentially [geoneutrinos reveal] just the chemistry of how much uranium and how much thorium is there,” Gratta said. “You don’t know anything about the crystal structure, whether the thorium is thorium oxide or thorium nitride. But still, when you know nothing, knowing a little bit already makes a big difference. This is really the first tool to actually do this.”

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