Neutrinos are tiny, nearly massless particles that are generated by nuclear reactions and can fly unimpeded through even the thickest rock. Because of these properties, geologists would like to use geoneutrinos — electron antineutrinos emitted during the decay of natural radionuclides — to estimate the heat generated by radioactivity inside Earth's mantle.

Ondřej Šrámek at the University of Maryland in College Park and his colleagues now present a plan for making measurements of these particles at two or more strategic points in the Pacific Ocean to discriminate between different models of Earth's mantle architecture.

Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. (2012)