Scientists Map Unexplored Corridors of Egypt’s Great Pyramid Using Cosmic Rays

The Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest of Egypt’s famous landmarks, has stood tall for about 4,500 years. But the 2 million blocks that make up the tomb and wall were not entered. Thieves looted the structure of its ancient treasures thousands of years ago and scientists analyzed its contents by studying its corridors or with more advanced measurement techniques such as thermal scanners.

The structure has many secrets, but since 2015 an international group of scientists, the ScanPyramids team, has been using subatomic particles to explore the unknown of the monument. In 2017, they revealed a large void — creatively called the Big Void — located above the pyramid gallery, although the purpose of this void remains unknown.

Last Thursday, in a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the team identified the structure of this corridor by taking advantage of the cosmic rays that regularly smash the Earth.

Cosmic ray muons, a subatomic particle considered one of the most fundamental building blocks of the universe, pass through the Earth’s atmosphere and sometimes collide with solid matter on the ground. The given density and thickness of an object determines how muons are absorbed by the object – and that can be measured.

Two teams placed seven detectors inside two corridors of the pyramid for three years, from 2016 to 2019, which managed to capture these muons. The direction in which these muons hit the detector is useful for determining what matter they passed through before being detected. This is how the team first discovered the North Face Corridor and then described its features.

Their measurements show that the North Face Corridor lies about 2.6 feet behind the North Face Chevron, an interesting structure just above the modern-day public entrance to the pyramid of unknown role. The corridor itself is LIKELY It was 27 feet long and shaped like a tube and ran horizontally along the ground. It also appears to have a larger cross-section than other corridors within the Great Pyramid and, at least from this measurement, it appears unlikely to connect to the Big Void previously noted by the ScanPyramids team.

This is an especially interesting find because the North Face Chevron was once hidden behind the outer layer of the pyramid’s stone casings. Why hide these chevrons? What are they for? Why is there a corridor behind them?

It seems that every time scientists explore the Great Pyramid’s hidden passages and seemingly empty spaces, they find more questions.

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