Alliance to penetrate mysteries of the Earth

Gianpaolo Bellini, Paolo Strolin, Hiroyuki K.M. Tanaka


Muography and geoneutrinos, as applied to the investigation of Earth science topics, have developed during nearly the same timeframe. The idea of muography was first proposed in 1955 by E.P. George, a physicist who attempted to measure the areal density of the rock overburden of a tunnel underneath the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric Scheme in Australia. Thirteen years later, L. Alvarez first performed mugraphy in order to map out the internal structure of the Chephren’s pyramid. With regard to geoneutrinos, George Gamow gave the first suggestion in a letter to F. Reines in 1953, two years prior to E.P. George’s experiment. Enthusiastic about the idea in this letter, thirteen years later G. Eder discussed the potential of the “remarkable abundance of radioactive elements within the Earth”. In the first decade of the 21st century, both the first muographic image of a volcano and the first measurement of geo-neutrinos respectively took place in 2006 and 2005. By encouraging the synergy of expertise in Earth science and particle physics, these new methods of studying previously invisible phenomenon within the Earth are continuing to improve as tools to solve Earth science challenges.


Muography; Geo-neutrino; Earth; Volcano; Imaging

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN:  2037-416X