Scientists have discovered a large helium gas field in Tanzania.

 

With world helium supplies running out, the find is a “game-changer”, say geologists at Durham and Oxford universities.

It is used in hospitals in MRI scanners as well as in spacecraft, telescopes and radiation monitors.

Until now, the precious gas has been discovered only in small quantities during oil and gas drilling.

Using a new exploration approach, researchers found large quantities of helium within the Tanzanian East African Rift Valley.

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They say resources in just one part of the Rift valley are enough to fill more than a million medical MRI scanners.

Prof Chris Ballentine, of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, said: “This is a game-changer for the future security of society’s needs of this precious gas and similar finds in the future may not be far away.”

 

And colleague Dr Pete Barry added: ‘We can apply this same strategy to other parts of the world with a similar geological history to find new helium resources. ”

 

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