New NGA global map advances R&D in geophysics and nonproliferation

September 01, 2015

A team of researchers led by scientists at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency published a new map Sept. 1 that characterizes the Earth's radioactivity and offers new and potential future applications for basic science research and nonproliferation efforts. The Antineutrino Global Map 2015, or AGM2015, is an unprecedented experimentally-informed model of the Earth's natural and manmade antineutrino flux.

The map uses open-source geophysical data sets and publicly available international antineutrino detection observational data to depict varying levels of radioactivity on Earth.

"The open access availability of these antineutrino maps represents the next generation of cartography and gives important insights into the basic understanding about the interior of our planet," said Shawn Usman, NGA R&D scientist and lead author of the study.

The neutrino and its antimatter cousin, the antineutrino, are subatomic particles produced by stars of all types, including the Sun, as well as Earth's atmosphere, supernovae, nuclear reactors, and radioactive materials.

The research team is comprised of neutrino physicists and geophysicists from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, the University of Maryland and Virginia-based Ultralytics, LLC.

Antineutrinos were first detected as emissions from nuclear reactors in the mid-1950s two decades after their existence was proposed. More than 99 percent of all terrestrial antineutrinos come from within the Earth, with the remainder coming from nuclear reactors. The detection of antineutrinos from nuclear reactors continues to provide insights into their oscillatory behavior and potential future applications for nuclear nonproliferation

Naturally occurring radioisotopes in the Earth produce geophysical antineutrinos, or geo-neutrinos, and reveal information about the planet's interior. The study of geo-neutrinos, needed to support nuclear reactor detection, is a gateway to meaningful geologic research into the Earth's heat sources and geodynamics.

"Geo-neutrino measurements are essential in characterizing the Earth's radiogenic power across geologic time and in improving our understanding of planetary formation processes in the early solar nebula." Usman said. "Our vision at NGA is to 'Know the Earth...Show the Way...Understand the World.' This map enhances our fundamental understanding of the planet by mapping out Earth's natural and anthropogenic radioactivity."
-end-
The authors expect to release periodic updates to the original AGM2015 as future oscillation measurements, crust/mantle model advancements and ongoing construction and decommissioning of nuclear reactors will eventually change the map. In addition to antineutrino mapping NGA is also investigating the development of global neutron/gamma maps to further characterize the Earth's natural radioactivity.

AGM2015 is a product of NGA's antineutrino research program. NGA scientists previously published proposed methods to exploit the flavor oscillation phenomena in a process called NeUtrino Direction and Ranging, or NUDAR. NGA has also developed a small prototype antineutrino detector being tested at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The map and accompanying research paper are published in Nature's Scientific Reports available at (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep13945). The NGA news release, maps and AGM 2015 infographic can be found at (https://www.nga.mil/MediaRoom/PressReleases/Pages/Antineutrino.aspx).

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Related Radioactivity Articles from Brightsurf:

Attacking tumors directly on identification
The combination of a biomolecule and a metal complex can target, bind, mark and damage cancer cells.

Can oilfield water safely be reused for irrigation in California?
Reusing low-saline oilfield water mixed with surface water to irrigate farms in the Cawelo Water District of California does not pose major health risks, as some opponents of the practice have feared, a study led by Duke University and RTI International researchers finds.

Cold War nuke tests changed rainfall
Historic records from weather stations show that rainfall patterns in Scotland were affected by charge in the atmosphere released by radiation from nuclear bomb tests carried out in the 1950s and '60s.

New procedure for obtaining a cheap ultra-hard material that is resistant to radioactivity
The material has been made using the technique of laser zone floating, which consists of fusion by means of the application of intense laser radiation and then rapid solidification.

Distribution of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed
New method allows scientists to create a quantitative map of radioactive cesium-rich microparticle distribution in soils collected around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP).

Are doctors treating more thyroid cancer patients than necessary?
New research may help change treatment practices for patients diagnosed with low risk thyroid cancer.

New model suggests lost continents for early Earth
A new radioactivity model of Earth's ancient rocks calls into question current models for the formation of Earth's continental crust, suggesting continents may have risen out of the sea much earlier than previously thought but were destroyed, leaving little trace.

How slick water and black shale in fracking combine to produce radioactive waste
Study explains how radioactive radium transfers to wastewater in the widely-used method to extract oil and gas.

First reliable estimates of highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by Fukushima disaster
Scientists have for the first time been able to estimate the amount of radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in 2011.

Artificial intelligence accurately predicts distribution of radioactive fallout
Researchers at the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science created a machine-learning-based tool that can predict where radioactive emissions from nuclear power plants will disperse.

Read More: Radioactivity News and Radioactivity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.