Researchers have discovered helium in Africa. The valuable gas was discovered in the Rift Valley of eastern African country, Tanzania.
The discovery of helium in Africa is one that poses a great lot of benefits according to researchers in the United Kingdom and Norway. The researchers were precisely from the University of Oxford and Durham University. They are working with Helium One.
There is a current global shortage of helium, it has the possibility of being curbed by the discovery of a helium gas field in Tanzania.
The helium is a noble gas that is especially used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometers. These are imaging technologies used in radiology; they are commonly used in hospitals.
Helium has before now been discovered by accident, this discovery however was intentional. The helium field was found using a new approach that involved searching for helium as one would search for oil and also understanding the causes surrounding the formation of helium.
It is estimated to contain more helium gas than the U.S. Federal Helium Reserve.
“We sampled helium gas (and nitrogen) just bubbling out of the ground in the Tanzanian East African Rift valley,” Chris Ballentine, a geochemist in the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University, said in a statement.
“By combining our understanding of helium geochemistry with seismic images of gas-trapping structures, independent experts have calculated a probable resource of 54 billion cubic feet [1.5 billion cubic meters] in just one part of the rift valley.”
Helium is non-renewable and can hardly be substituted in its uses by other gases. This makes the discovery of helium in Africa a breakthrough. The researchers are even more optimistic about the quantity of helium disposed at the East Africa Rift Valley considering a huge amount was found in only a small section of the region.