21-23 October 2019
Conference center of the Czech Association of Scientific and Technical Societies
Europe/Prague timezone

The Mantle's Radioactive Power - Understanding the Geoneutrino Signal

21 Oct 2019, 11:30
Room 319 (3rd floor) (Conference center of the Czech Association of Scientific and Technical Societies)

Room 319 (3rd floor)

Conference center of the Czech Association of Scientific and Technical Societies

Novotného lávka 5, Prague 1, Czech Republic


Prof. William McDonough (University of Maryland)


Although many assume we know the Earth's abundance and distribution of radioactive heat producing elements (i.e., U, Th, and K), estimates for mantle's heat production varying by an order of magnitude and recent physics findings challenge our dominant paradigm. Geologist predict the Earth's budget of radiogenic power at 20$\pm$10 TW (terrawatts, 10$^{12}$ watts), whereas the physics experiments predict 11.2$^{+7.9}_{-5.1}$ TW (KamLAND, Japan) and 38.2$^{+13.6}_{-12.7}$ TW (Borexino, Italy).

We welcome this opportunity to highlight the fundamentally important resource offered by the physics community and highlight the shortcomings associated with the characterization of the geology of the Earth. We review the findings from the continent-based, physics experiments, the prediction from geology, and assess the degree of misfit between the physics measurements and the predicted models of the continental lithosphere and the underlying mantle. Because our knowledge of the continents is so weak, models for the mantle and the bulk silicate Earth continue to be uncertain by a factor of $\sim$30 and $\sim$4, respectively. Detection of a geoneutrino signal in the ocean, far from the influence of continental, offers the potential to resolve this tension and offer an powerful tools to interrogate the composition of the continental crust.

Primary authors

Prof. William McDonough (University of Maryland) Ondřej Šrámek (Charles University) Bedrich Roskovec (University of California, Irvine) Laura Sammon (University of Maryland College Park) Dr Scott A. Wipperfurth (Department of Geology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA) Ingrida Semenec (Queen's University)

Presentation Materials