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posted by janrinok on Monday March 04, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the squeeky-voices-for-everyone dept.

Massive Reserve of Helium Found by Minnesota Exploratory Drill, Likely the Biggest Find Ever in North America:

A new find of underground helium in Minnesota could turn out to be one of the largest in the world, Minneapolis's WCCO-TV reported Thursday. The drill site, just outside Babbitt in the northeastern part of the state, took about a month from initially breaking ground to get to a depth of 2,200 feet.

What it found there, Pulsar Helium CEO Thomas Abraham-James called "a dream." "There was a lot of screaming, a lot of hugging and high fives. It's nice to know the efforts all worked out and we pulled it off," Abraham-James told WCCO.

He said that the concentration of helium sampled was 12.4 percent — about 30 times what the outlet referred to as "the industry standard," and higher even than the company had forecast. "12.4% is just a dream," the CEO told the outlet. "It's perfect."

Further analysis remains to be done, of course, but the finding confirmed work completed in 2011 that indicated the presence of helium deep under the surface, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Companies generally pursue helium concentrations above 0.3 percent that they can locate, the outlet noted. "So now the real hard begins to find out what is it truly that we have and the size of the prize," Abraham-James told the News Tribune.

Studying the size of the find and the feasibility of a full-sized mining operation could take up to a year, the company told WCCO. The Topez Project, as the drill site is called, was initially planned to go to a depth of 2,250 feet, but had to stop earlier than expected because of "abnormally warm temperatures and looming road weight restrictions," according to the paper.

A device that looks like a "glorified fire hydrant," according to Abraham-James, will now be installed over the hole to allow for additional sampling and testing. A crew from Duluth Metals in 2011 first discovered helium in the area when searching for platinum-palladium metals, the News Tribune reported.

Helium is valued for everything from filling balloons to being used as a safe and effective coolant in liquid form. "It's used in everything from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, semiconductor manufacturing and leak testing, to air tanks for medical patients and deep-sea divers, to aerospace and defense industries," the News Tribune notes.

Also reported at (and elsewhere):

    Soon You'll be Able to Buy Your Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Helium Cooling
    Helium Shortages to have Limited Impact on Quantum Computer Research
    Helium Deposit Discovered

Original Submission

Related Stories

Helium Deposit Discovered 8 comments

CBC News reports that a deposit of helium-rich gases has been discovered beneath Tanzania. Estimated at "about 54 billion cubic feet (1.5 billion cubic metres) of helium," the deposit was found by looking for rocks that might contain helium, along with formations that could retain gases underground, and volcanic activity. It is believed that volcanic heat caused separation of helium from the parent rocks; the helium was then trapped in an underground cavern. Helium has traditionally been produced in conjunction with methane (natural gas). The discoverers are optimistic that similar formations may exist elsewhere in the world.

Gas seeping out of the new Tanzanian reserve contains up to 10.6 per cent helium, and the reserve is estimated to hold about 54 billion cubic feet (1.5 billion cubic metres) of helium gas in total.

"This is enough to fill over 1.2 million medical MRI scanners," said Chris Ballentine, a University of Oxford researcher who co-authored the study, in a news release.

For comparison, entire global reserves are thought to be about 35.2 billion cubic metres, and the world uses about 227 million cubic metres per year.

Additional coverage:

Original Submission

Helium Shortages to have Limited Impact on Quantum Computer Research 2 comments

Shortages of liquid helium are beginning to cause anxiety for researchers, as the third major supply constraint since 2006 is affecting everyone from medical laboratories to party supply stores due to higher prices and rationing from vendors. Despite helium being the second most abundant element in the universe, there are only 14 liquid helium production facilities in the world--with around 75% of that consumed worldwide produced in Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar, an ExxonMobil facility in Wyoming, and facilities owned by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), according to GasWorld.

With the privatization of the helium market--a process that started in 1996--coming to fruition in 2020, private industry has played a larger role in ensuring helium supply in the US.

With the ExxonMobil facility partially shutting down for maintenance this summer, the helium market is going to be squeezed. Quantum computers use a different isotope of helium (Helium-3), the distribution of which is still controlled by the government, which should head off any issues.

Original Submission

Soon You'll be Able to Buy Your Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Helium Cooling 5 comments

Soon You'll Be Able To Buy Your Own 9 GHz Record Breaking LN2 Pot:

According to a report from hardwareLuxx, Raptor Lake's 9GHz world record was achieved using a brand new LN2 pot named the Volcano, and from January 5 you'll be able to buy your own from EmorLabs for $250.

Volcano was developed by overclocker ShaggySVK and supports a combination of liquid nitrogen (LN2) and liquid helium cooling, not just liquid nitrogen. The pot itself features a matte black finish container measuring 83.1mm paired with a full copper core at the bottom. It supports almost every single CPU socket from Intel and AMD, including AM2 all the way to AM5, and LGA 775 all the way to the LGA 20xx sockets found in Intel's HEDT chips. We don't have all the dimensions of the pot itself, but it stands tall, approximately the height of a 100mm or 120mm tower cooler.

To maximize the effective cooling, the copper core features a plethora of holes and dimples for the cooling liquid to saturate. These holes extend all the way through the
copper core, with the exception of the bottom where the surface is flat to make maximum contact with the CPU. Again, the pot is capable of utilizing both liquid nitrogen and liquid helium cooling at the same time.

Liquid helium is a more aggressive cooling solution compared to liquid nitrogen, with extreme thermal properties producing a lower temperature. When used correctly in an overclocking application, it can drop CPU temperatures even further than what liquid nitrogen alone is capable of.

Are there any overclockers in our community?

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by technohat on Monday March 04, @11:11PM (2 children)

    by technohat (4055) on Monday March 04, @11:11PM (#1347374)

    Is this why everybody in Minnesota talks funny?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by mhajicek on Tuesday March 05, @06:14AM (1 child)

      by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday March 05, @06:14AM (#1347411)

      Ya, sure. You betcha!

      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Tuesday March 05, @09:56PM

        by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 05, @09:56PM (#1347514)

        Ope! Come on up north and we'll play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck and have some hotdish.

        *actual MN native

        The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams.
  • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 05, @12:12AM

    by drussell (2678) on Tuesday March 05, @12:12AM (#1347382) Journal

    Cue the helium mines on Sol jokes... :)

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by shrewdsheep on Tuesday March 05, @09:43AM

    by shrewdsheep (5215) on Tuesday March 05, @09:43AM (#1347426)

    Don't let the helium out, the earth will fall into the sun!