Home » Science » Helium can’t be artificially produced and is formed in natural gas wells as ancient uranium decays. The half-life of the most prevalent uranium isotope is billions of years old (older than Earth itself), so helium takes inordinate amounts of time to form.

Helium can’t be artificially produced and is formed in natural gas wells as ancient uranium decays. The half-life of the most prevalent uranium isotope is billions of years old (older than Earth itself), so helium takes inordinate amounts of time to form.

Scientists Found a Huge Reservoir of Much-Needed Helium

The federal government stockpiles it. Scientists hoard it. Entire industries—and even lives—could end without it. In this case, the “it” in question is helium, a gas used in everything from particle accelerators to MRI machines. A dearth of helium has long been of grave concern to researchers. But today, they may just be blowing up balloons anyway: As Helen Briggs writes for BBC News, a gigantic reservoir of the in-demand gas has been discovered in Tanzania.

Over a trillion liters of helium have been found beneath Tanzania’s volcanic Rift Valley, Briggs reports. The find, which was announced at the Goldschmit geochemical conference, is a huge one: enough to fulfill the world’s demand for the gas for years to come.

It’s the first tim… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

Leave a Comment