Discovery Of Fuquan Hot Springs In Ali Area, Tibet

- May 24, 2018-

Helium is an inert gas with a low boiling point, a small molecule, and is colorless and odorless. It does not react chemically with other elements. Now helium has been widely used in aerospace, cryogenic superconductivity, nuclear industry and scientific research and other fields. The concentration of helium in the atmosphere is only 5.2 parts per million. The cost of extracting helium from the atmosphere is very high.

China is a country with very scarce resources. The consumption of radon mainly depends on imports. In general, if the radon gas concentration exceeds 0.1%, it has industrial development and utilization value. The Weiyuan gas field in the Sichuan Basin is the only natural gas field in China to realize industrialized exploitation of helium. In addition, some natural gas in some oil-bearing basins in China are also associated with different concentrations of helium, but none have entered commercial mining.

In 2001, when Zhao Ping, a researcher at the Institute of Geology and Earth Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a researcher of the Geothermal Geology Brigade of the Tibet Exploration and Geology Bureau conducted a geothermal resource survey in Tibet, a concentration of 1.27 was detected in a hot spring gas at an altitude of 4340 meters in Ali area. % of radon gas. In July last year, Zhao Ping and Stanford University collaborators collected hot spring gas samples in the same hot spring area using copper tube encapsulation. Recently, the U.S. partners provided analysis and test results, confirming that the hot spring is an eucalyptus hot spring, with nitrogen as its main component, methane concentration less than 0.5%, and helium concentration as high as 1.11%. In the international arena, India used the cryogenic method to increase the concentration of helium in similar hot spring gases from 0.75% to 90%, and established a small demonstration helium preparation plant.

It is understood that the newly discovered hot spring helium enrichment mechanism, form of occurrence, migration process, distribution rules, and resource evaluation have yet to be further investigated and studied.