Just as the World thought we are running out of Helium, a huge helium gas field gets discovered in Tanzania. A group of scientist from the UK’s Durham and Oxford Universities working for Helium One, a Norwegian helium gas exploration company has discovered an enormous Helium gas field in the Rift Valley of Tanzania.
This discovery could not have come at a more opportune time, as the current global supply of the rare element is running low. Helium is used in MRI scanners, nuclear energy plants, and space exploration vehicles.
This discovery is also the first time Helium has been discovered intentionally, unlike in the past where people stumbled upon it during oil and gas drilling process. Often these accidental discoveries of Helium gas, find the element in small quantities. The team of researchers is said to have used the state of the art technology in discovering this field, and their efforts were well rewarded, with the discovery of a ‘world class’ Helium field near the volcanoes of the Rift Valley.
In just one section of the field, the scientist says there is enough Helium to fill about 1.2 million MRI scanners. While the global consumption of Helium stands at 8 billion cubic feet (BCF) every year, with the United States Federal Helium Reserve having the largest supply with about 24.2 BCF
“We show that volcanoes in the Rift play an important role in the formation of viable Helium reserves. Volcanic activity likely provides the heat necessary to release the Helium accumulated in ancient crustal rocks,” said Diveena Danabalan from Durham’s Department of Earth Sciences.
Chris Ballentine, a Professor at Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences, said, “Total known reserves in the USA are around 153 BCF. This is a game changer for the future security of society’s helium needs and similar finds in the future may not be far away.”