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Using a celestial phenomenon, archaeologists are probing a mysterious structure buried deep underground in Russia. The structure could be one of the world's oldest Christian churches, according to a new study.
The structure may have served as a reservoir, a Christian church or a Zoroastrian fire temple, according to a statement from the MISIS National University of Science and Technology in Russia.
Group - Researchers - Phenomenon - Rays - Picture
So, a group of researchers decided to harness a celestial phenomenon called cosmic rays to help them paint a picture of the structure, similar to how a group discovered a possible void in the Great Pyramid of Giza back in 2017. They call this method "muon radiography."
Cosmic rays are a form of high-energy radiation that comes from an unknown source outside our solar system; they constantly rain down on Earth. Though most of the rays crash into atoms in our planet's upper atmosphere and don't make it to the ground, some, called muon particles, are ejected from this collision and do hit Earth's surface.
Muons - Matter - Speed - Light - Denser
Muons travel through matter at nearly the speed of light. But as they travel through denser objects, they lose energy and decay. So, by calculating the number of muons traveling through various parts underground, researchers can paint a picture of an object's density. But for this method to work, the structure and the surrounding soil need to have at least a 5% difference in density, according to the study.
The researchers placed muon detectors about 33 feet (10 m) inside the mysterious structure and took measurements for two months. They found that the structure and surrounding soil do have enough of a density difference such that they could use this method to figure out the structure's 3D shape.
Researchers - Structure
The researchers don't think the structure...
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