Here Be Dragons That Rarely Interact

Physicists Produce Antineutrino Map Of The World

Physicists know that almost all of [the earth’s internal] heat is generated by the decay of radioactive elements such as potassium-40, thorium-232 and uranium-238. But how are these elements distributed and how much heat does each contribute?

In the next few years, geophysicists hope to get some detailed answers to this question thanks to the emerging science of neutrino geophysics. The radioactive decay inside the Earth produces subatomic particles known as antineutrinos. So an experiment that measures the antineutrinos coming out of the Earth should provide a detailed picture of the distribution of these elements within it.

This isn’t a map made by detection, but by calculation based on reactors. Still pretty cool.