Cosmology View

My views on Cosmology and Physics

site navigation menu


Detecting Neutrinos

10 Geoneutrino

This is section 10 of 13.

This term arose from KamLAND.

Here is its description.

A geoneutrino is a neutrino or antineutrino emitted in decay of radionuclide naturally occurring in the Earth. Neutrinos, the lightest of the known subatomic particles, lack measurable electromagnetic properties and interact only via the weak nuclear force when ignoring gravity. Matter is virtually transparent to neutrinos and consequently they travel, unimpeded, at near light speed through the Earth from their point of emission. Collectively, geoneutrinos carry integrated information about the abundances of their radioactive sources inside the Earth. A major objective of the emerging field of neutrino geophysics involves extracting geologically useful information (e.g., abundances of individual geoneutrino-producing elements and their spatial distribution in Earth's interior) from geoneutrino measurements.

 Analysts from the Borexino collaboation have been able to get to 53 events of neutrinos originating from the interior of the Earth.

Most geoneutrinos are electron antineutrinos originating in B-  decay branches of 40K, 232Th and 238U.

Together these decay chains account for more than 99% of the present-day radiogenic heat generated inside the Earth.

Only geoneutrinos from 232Th and 238U decay chains are detectable by the inverse beta-decay mechanism on the free proton because these have energies above the corresponding threshold (1.8 MeV).

In neutrino experiments, large underground liquid scintillator detectors record the flashes of light generated from this interaction.
As of 2016 geoneutrino measurements at two sites, as reported by the KamLAND and Borexino collaborations, have begun to place constraints on the amount of radiogenic heating in the Earth's interior.

A third detector (SNO+) is expected to start collecting data in 2017.

JUNO experiment is under construction in Southern China.

Another geoneutrino detecting experiment is planned at the China Jinping Underground Laboratory.



At great depths below the Earth's surface, substantial events from radioactivity are encountered

Go to Table of Contents, to read a specific section.

last change 04/03/2022