Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the California Institute of Technology have discovered record concentrations of helium-3 (3He) in 62-million-year-old Arctic rocks, providing compelling evidence of a slow leak from Earth’s core.
This helium isotope’s presence suggests it isn’t contaminated by the atmosphere but has a deeper, more ancient origin. The researchers’ analysis, including olivine samples from Canada’s Baffin Island, revealed the highest ratio of 3He to 4He recorded in volcanic rock, nearly 70 times greater than atmospheric levels.
This discovery supports the idea that noble gases trapped in Earth’s core could slowly seep into the surrounding mantle over time, unlocking insights into Earth’s inner workings.
While Earth’s core remains inaccessible to direct observation, these findings offer a unique window into the planet’s geological history, giving scientists a better understanding of the origins and processes shaping our world.