Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of New Mexico

Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Geoneutrinos and heat production in the Earth

Presented by Prof. W. F. McDonough, Department of Geology, University of Maryland

Every second 1025 geoneutrinos radiate to space making the Earth shine as an antineutrino star. Geoneutrino, produced during radioactive beta decays of isotopes in the Earth, are uniquely a direct probe of our planet's thermal power. Detectors in Japan and Italy have measured the flux of geoneutrinos and reveal the Earth's radiogenic thermal power is 20 to 50% of the Earth's present-day surface flux (46+/-3 TW). Soon these experiments will be joined by the 1-kton SNO+ detector in Canada, the 20-kton JUNO detector in south China and the 4-kton Jinping detector southwest of Chengdu. We are now establishing limits on acceptable compositional models for the Earth and are quantifying the amount of nuclear power inside the Earth for driving plate tectonics, mantle convection, and the geodynamo.

3:30 pm, Friday, September 21, 2018
Room 125, Dane Smith Hall
Southwest corner of Las Lomas and Yale, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Refreshments will be available before the colloquium, at 3:15 pm, in the lobby of Dane Smith Hall.

Disability NoticeIndividuals with disabilities who need an auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in P&A events should contact Sandra Ortiz (phone: 505-277-5900, email: well in advance to ensure your needs are accomodated. Event handouts can be provided in alternative accessible formats upon request. Please contact Mrs. Ortiz if you need written information in an alternative format.

A schedule of talks within the Department of Physics and Astronomy is available on the P&A web site at