Physicists isolate neutrinos from Earth's mantle for first time – Physics World

Hamish Johnston

Seeing the light: some of Borexino’s many light detectors The first confirmed sightings of antineutrinos produced by radioactive decay in the Earth’s mantle have been made by researchers at the Borexino detector in Italy. The Borexino team has also been able to make a new calculation of how much heat is produced in the Earth by radioactive decay, finding it to be greater than previously thought. Both detectors have since spotted more geoneutrinos and, taken together, their measurements suggest that about one half of the heat flowing out of the Earth is generated by radioactive decay, although there is large uncertainty in this value. The Borexino team also tried to work out what proportion of the geoneutrinos came from the uranium decay chain and what proportion from the thorium chain. More data, the Borexino physicists say, should let them make more precise measurements of the contributions of uranium and thorium to the heating of the Earth.

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