Geoneutrinos

“the start of something that should be much fun in the future”
(J.G. Learned for NYTimes in 2005 commenting on the first geoneutrino detection)

Geoneutrinos are electron antineutrinos emitted in β-decay branches of radionuclides naturally occurring in the Earth, in particular 238U, 232Th, and 40K. Neutrino detection experiments are now able to measure geoneutrinos. Geoneutrino measurements place constraints on the amount of radiogenic heating in Earth’s interior. These constraints will become more stringent as data collection continues at existing detectors, new detectors become operational, and new or improved detection methods are developed.

Wikipedia article on Geoneutrinos, which we started in January 2013.

Geoneutrinos section of Neutrino Unbound, a source of references maintained by Stefano Gariazzo, Carlo Giunti, and Marco Laveder.

Total (crust+mantle) geoneutrino flux at Earth's surface. Animation of Fig. 4a from Šrámek et al. EPSL 2013.

Total (crust+mantle) geoneutrino flux at Earth’s surface. Animation of Fig. 4a from Šrámek et al. EPSL 2013.

Mantle fraction of the geoneutrino flux. Animation of Fig. 4b from Šrámek et al. EPSL 2013.

Mantle fraction of the geoneutrino flux. Animation of Fig. 4b from Šrámek et al. EPSL 2013.

Conversion between geoneutrino flux (in 10e6 cm-2 s-1) and signal rate (in TNU) as a function of Th/U abundance ratio for inverse beta decay.

Conversion between geoneutrino flux (in 10e6 cm-2 s-1) and signal rate (in TNU) as a function of Th/U abundance ratio for inverse beta decay. See this PDF for the details of conversion calculation.

Geoneutrino-measuring experiments

KamLAND

Websites at Tohoku UniversityStanfordLBL, 36.43 N 137.31 E
Sanshiro Enomoto’s Ph.D. Thesis: “Neutrino geophysics and observation of geo-neutrinos at KamLAND“, Tohoku University, 2005.

Borexino

borex.lngs.infn.it, 42.45 N 13.57 E

SNO+

snoplus.phy.queensu.ca, 46.47 N -81.20 E, 5890 ± 94 m.w.e.

JUNO

juno.ihep.ac.cn, 22.12 N  112.52 E  ~700 m depth

Jinping

jinping.hep.tsinghua.edu.cn, 28.15323 N 101.7114 E  ~2400 m depth

Geoneutrino measurements

KamLAND 2005, 2011, 2013, 2016(preliminary):

  • Araki et al.: “Experimental investigation of geologically produced antineutrinos with KamLAND.” Nature 436(7050), 499–503, 2005, doi:10.1038/nature03980.
  • KamLAND Collaboration: “Partial radiogenic heat model for Earth revealed by geoneutrino measurements.” Nature Geosci. 4(9), 2011, 647–651, doi:10.1038/ngeo1205.
  • KamLAND Collaboration: “Reactor on-off antineutrino measurement with KamLAND.” Phys. Rev. D 88(3), 033001, 2013, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.88.033001 (arXiv:1303.4667).
  • Watanabe (for the KamLAND Collaboration): “KamLAND.” Presented at International Workshop Neutrino Research and Thermal Evolution of the Earth, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 25–27 October 2016.

Borexino 2010, 2013, 2015, 2019:

Geoneutrino science meetings, workshops, schools

2005

D. Overbye: “Baby Oil and Benzene Provide Look at Earth’s Radioactivity,” New York Times (28 July 2005)

B. Dumé: “Geoneutrinos make their debut,” PhysicsWorld.com (27 July 2005)

First Measurement of Geoneutrinos at KamLAND,” PhysOrg.com (28 July 2005)

J. O. Löfken: “Erster Beweis für natürlichen Kernreaktor im Erdzentrum,” Die Welt (28 July 2005)

W. F. McDonough: “Ghosts from within” Nature (27 July 2005) [PDF]

2010

E. Cartlidge: “Borexino bags geoneutrinos,” PhysicsWorld.com (12 March 2010)

L. Edwards: “Borexino experiment detects geo-neutrinos,” PhysOrg.com (16 March 2010)

M. Koch: “Blitze aus der Erde,” neues-deutschland.de (Mar 20, 2010)

Physicists Use Underground Lab to Detect Rare Particles, Peek into Earth’s Center,” PhysOrg.com (26 March 2010)

Physicists detect geo-neutrinos from deep within Earth’s core,” sify.com (27 March 2010)

Physicists Detect Geo-Neutrino Particles Using Borexino,” Azosensors.com (29 March 2010)

F. Flam: “Physicists hunt for a trace of the elusive, invisible geoneutrino,” PhysOrg.com (26 July 2010)

2011

P. Preuss: “What Keeps the Earth Cooking?” LBL.gov (17 July 2011)

C. Q. Choi: “Radioactive decay fuels Earth’s inner fires,” NBCNEWS.com (17 July 2011)

Erde schöpft aus ursprünglichem Wärmevorrat,” Spiegel (18 July 2011)

2012

W. F. McDonough, J. G. Learned, S. Dye: “The many uses of electron antineutrinos” Physics Today (1 March 2012) [PDF]

A. Ananthaswamy: “Messengers from the underworld” New Scientist (25 April 2012) [PDF]

W. F. McDonough, J. G. Learned, S. Dye: “Des neutrinos pour sonder l’intérieur de la Terre” Pour la Science (25 juillet 2012) [PDF]

2013

A. Witze: “Detectors zero in on Earth’s heat,” Nature (2 April 2013) [PDF]

G. Roberts Jr.: “Journey from the center of the Earth,” Symmetry Magazine (18 June 2013)

2014

J. Qiu: “China Builds Mammoth Detector to Probe Mysteries of Neutrino Mass” Science (7 February 2014) [PDF]

W. F. McDonough, O. Šrámek: “Neutrino geoscience, news in brief” Environ. Earth Sci. (15 June 2014) [PDF]

A. Solliday: “When research worlds collide” Symmetry Magazine (23 September 2014) [PDF]

2017

Geoneutrina poodhalí tajemství původu Země“ [Geoneutrinos will reveal secrets of Earth’s origin]. Inteview for magazine Forum, number 40 (2017) of Charles University [PDF]