Recently, there has been explosive deep-ocean volcanism detected along the slowly-spreading Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean (see map below), according the National Geographic news article Arctic Volcanoes Found Active at Unprecedented Depths, specifically, the article reports that

Powerful eruptions sent a plume of carbon dioxide, helium, and liquid lava up into the Arctic waters.

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What is the geochemical source for the helium detected in deep Arctic explosive eruptions?


1 Answer 1


Helium is formed through the radioactive decay of uranium 238, uranium 235 and Thorium 232. A helium atom is an alpha particle that has collected electrons. The only way that helium is produced on Earth is by such radioactive decay deep underground.

Generally, the helium travels along cracks until it reaches a subterranean cavern where it accumulates.

Yellowstone National Park in the US is leaking helium.

Quoting from the website http://www.yellowstonepark.com/2014/02/helium/

the gas is gurgling up from a store that’s been trapped in the Earth’s core for up to 2 billion years. Scientists believe that the helium began its exodus up from the depths roughly 2 million years ago.

The helium was initially released when a “hotspot” of collected magma fought its way to the Earth’s surface and caused a series of volcanic eruptions, the most recent of which occurred 640,000 years ago.

The helium being release at Gakkel Ridge would be of a similar origin and it appears to be released in a manner similar to what is happening at Yellowstone NP. The article you provided a link for also states that carbon dioxide is being release at Gakkel Ridge, which is not inconsistent with the volcanic activity of the ridge.

From the website http://www.helium-corp.com/facts/heliumfound.html

Carbon Dioxide is also found in some helium-bearing formations but the presence of this gas is primarily due to its proximity to ancient volcanic activity.

Other website that may be of interest are:



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