For years, most experts have been drawing attention to the limited reserves of helium. Most specialists estimated that the known reserves will last for maximum 25 more years from now on. However, a British team of researchers discovered a new helium reserve in Tanzania. Thanks to a novel exploration technique, scientists hope they can repeat this performance.
As the second most abundant element in the universe is getting harder and harder to find on Earth, most experts became increasingly worried in regards to this matter.
One of the reasons for which helium is so hard to find on our planet is related to one of the distinctive properties of this gas, its weight. In the table of chemical elements, helium is rated as one of the lightest elements in the universe. Due to this matter, the gas dissipates into the air and eventually leaves our planet`s atmosphere.
Moreover, its applicability in our world is not limited only to helium balloons. As its melting point is very close to absolute zero and its boiling point is also equally extreme, scientists use it in cryogenics, arc welding, high-energy accelerators and silicon wafer manufacturing.
Furthermore, helium is a vital element with an important role in medicine. It is used for magnetic resonance imaging, which helps doctors treat diseases like cancer. This device works with the aid of extremely conductive magnets. Due to its extreme melting point, helium can reach temperatures that are low enough in order to support this process.
Therefore, there are many reasons for which this discovery is important for the entire world. However, helium is a renewable resource. This gas can be produced as a result of the nuclear fusion process. Unfortunately, the costs of producing helium this way are too high.
According to one of the researchers, Diveena Danabalan, volcanic activity has a significant role in the creation of a new helium reserve. As a graduate student at Durham University, she presented this discovery at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Japan.
During the research, experts from Durham University collaborated with their colleagues from Oxford. With a little help from the Norwegian company Helium One, they used their knowledge in this field and combined it with geochemical sampling and seismic imaging in order to locate the new helium reserve.
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