A research group led by Associate Professor Nobumasa Funamori, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, along with research groups specialized in high-pressure Earth science and muon science, including the Institute of Materials Structure Science, jointly studied the condition of muons (µ+, mu particles) implanted in stishovite, a high-pressure phase of quartz, using the muon spin rotation method, and found that muons exist in interstitial positions in the form of muoniums with a captured electron.
A muon is a particle that mimics the condition of a proton (H+) in materials as a light radioisotope of proton. Because muonium (µ0) corresponds to neutral atomic hydrogen (H0), experimental results suggest the possible existence of neutral atomic hydrogen in interstitial positions in stishovite.
This finding challenges the established dogma that hydrogen exists in the form of a hydroxyl group (i.e., water) in silicate minerals that make up rocks, and is expected to open up new possibilities for identifying the mechanism behind the hydrogen cycle in the Earth’s deep interior.
In addition to the Graduate School of Science of the University of Tokyo and the Institute of Materials Structure Science, Hiroshima University, National Institute for Materials Science, Ehime University and RIKEN contributed to this study.
- Nobumasa Funamori, Kenji M. Kojima, Daisuke Wakabayashi, Tomoko Sato, Takashi Taniguchi, Norimasa Nishiyama, Tetsuo Irifune, Dai Tomono, Teiichiro Matsuzaki, Masanori Miyazaki, Masatoshi Hiraishi, Akihiro Koda, Ryosuke Kadono. Muonium in Stishovite: Implications for the Possible Existence of Neutral Atomic Hydrogen in the Earth's Deep Mantle. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 8437 DOI: 10.1038/srep08437
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National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS). "Possible existence of neutral atomic hydrogen in rock in Earth's deep interior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325082343.htm>.
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS). (2015, March 25). Possible existence of neutral atomic hydrogen in rock in Earth's deep interior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325082343.htm
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS). "Possible existence of neutral atomic hydrogen in rock in Earth's deep interior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150325082343.htm (accessed March 25, 2015).