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How long will it be before the Earth essentially ‘dies’ and all active processes grind to a halt ?
Despite having formed over 4.6 billion years ago, the interior of our planet is still blisteringly hot due to two types of energy – primordial energy, which is left over from the Earth’s formation, and nuclear energy, which is essentially the heat being produced by radioactive decay.
This energy is responsible for the active planetary processes that we still see happening to this day such as volcanism and the shifting of the tectonic plates. The Moon, by contrast, is mostly a ‘dead’ world in that it no longer possesses enough energy for these processes to take place.
To learn more about how much more fuel the Earth still has left in its tank, Professor William McDonough and his team at the University of Maryland are aiming to measure the Earth’s geoneutrinos – subatomic particles which are the byproducts of radioactive decay.
“The particles will tell us about how many atoms of uranium and thorium are inside the Earth,” said McDonough. “Therefore, that will tell us about how much radioactivity potential there exists.”
– See more at: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/298956/how-much-energy-remains-within-the-earth#sthash.6R2sCGfv.dpuf