Astrophysicists suggest that dark matter makes up to 23 percent of our Universe and has a vital part in its development. Still, the matter is invisible because it doesn’t generate, reflect, or absorb light.
The identification and source of dark matter is a mystery that has puzzled researchers for many years. A new study implies that the answer to the enigma could be right under our feet. As per research led by an international team of experts, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles ((WIMPs), believed to be the most auspicious candidates for dark matter, should be analyzed in ancient minerals found deep underground.
It is believed that if dark matter is made out of WIMPs, then it sometimes engages with normal matter, or visible matter, through weak nuclear power. This interaction comprises the transmission of energy from dark matter particles to visible particles. Still, the quantity of energy is incredibly small, and such engagements are assumed to be very rare.
Analyzing the Minerals for Traces of Dark Matter
This means that for researchers to be able to identify dark matter, they have to either design massive detectors, needing lots of money, or wait hundred of years in order to detect this engagement. In addition, these massive detectors should be placed deep underground, because other, more energetic particles such as cosmic rays generate similar patterns.
As per the new research, scientists can save time and money if they utilize the crust of the Earth as a dark matter identifier. The researchers believe that ancient minerals may work as paleo detectors, as they imply that interactions between dark and normal matter could have altered the chemical structure of minerals.
The fact that these minerals have been buried there for millions of years means that they might have registered a few such engagements. However, the changes in the chemical composition could also have been produced by radioactive decay, a natural course that takes place in every Earth rock, so the researchers propose analyzing minerals in the oceanic crust, which is purer.