Revealing the Earth's mantle from the tallest mountains using the Jinping Neutrino Experiment

Ondřej Šrámek, Bedřich Roskovec, Scott A. Wipperfurth, Yufei Xi, William F. McDonough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Earth's engine is driven by unknown proportions of primordial energy and heat produced in radioactive decay. Unfortunately, competing models of Earth's composition reveal an order of magnitude uncertainty in the amount of radiogenic power driving mantle dynamics. Recent measurements of the Earth's flux of geoneutrinos, electron antineutrinos from terrestrial natural radioactivity, reveal the amount of uranium and thorium in the Earth and set limits on the residual proportion of primordial energy. Comparison of the flux measured at large underground neutrino experiments with geologically informed predictions of geoneutrino emission from the crust provide the critical test needed to define the mantle's radiogenic power. Measurement at an oceanic location, distant from nuclear reactors and continental crust, would best reveal the mantle flux, however, no such experiment is anticipated. We predict the geoneutrino flux at the site of the Jinping Neutrino Experiment (Sichuan, China). Within 8 years, the combination of existing data and measurements from soon to come experiments, including Jinping, will exclude end-member models at the 1σ level, define the mantle's radiogenic contribution to the surface heat loss, set limits on the composition of the silicate Earth, and provide significant parameter bounds for models defining the mode of mantle convection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33034
JournalScientific reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 9
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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