First images of corridor detected in 2016 in pyramid of Khéops

First located by a muons detector, the 9 meters long tunnel located above the entrance to the building could be reached by an endoscopic camera.

by Hervé Morin

After high-tech technology, make way for a simple camera after a umbilicus. Researchers studying the pyramid of Khéops, Egypt, arrow all woods to try to discover new structures within it. This is evidenced by the simultaneous publication, Thursday, March 2, of the first images of a corridor detected in 2016 above the northern entrance to the building and two scientific studies presenting data collected thanks to particle detectors, radars and ultrasound, which had made it possible to refine the description of the cavity.

The images reveal a tunnel about 9 meters long, surmounted by a chevron ceiling, which is a few meters above the entrance giving today access to tourists, on the north face of the pyramid Built 4,500 years ago. They were disseminated by the Ministry of Egyptian Antiquities, which since 2015 coordinates the ScanPyramid project, led by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Cairo and the HIP Institute (Heritage Innovation Preservation), a French association.

The initial idea was to submit the great pyramid to a kind of giant radiography, thanks to muons detectors. These particles, some of which arise from collisions of cosmic rays with the high terrestrial atmosphere, have the ability to be very penetrating. The principle of muography is therefore to compare the flow of muons in the atmosphere and what remains of it after having crossed the matter, in order to probe it and find possible cavities.

 Muons sensor of the Atomic Energy Having contributed to the detection of the corridor in the north face of the pyramid of Khéops. Muons sensor of the atomic energy police station that contributed to the detection of the corridor of the northern face of the pyramid of Khéops. Scanpyramids

It is not new, since the American Luis Walter Alvarez, Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968, had implemented it in the Képhren pyramid at the end of the years 1970. In that of Khéops, she quickly paid off, the tunnel having been detected in 2016 by a team from the University of Nagoya (Japan) specializing in the study of volcanoes. The following year, with the reinforcement of detectors of the atomic energy police station (CEA), it was a larger structure, about thirty meters long, which was identified in the heart of the pyramid, baptized the ” Large vacuum “(” Big void “).

French and Japanese publish jointly, Thursday March 2, in Nature Communications The fruit of accumulation of data until 2020 on the small tunnel. “We have improved our instruments, to miniaturize them and reduce the use of Argon, a gas which in a confined environment like the corridors of the pyramid could generate anoxies,” said Sébastien Prosecutor (Research Institute on the Basic Laws of The universe, CEA, Paris-Saclay University), which coordinated the study with Kunihiro Morishima (University of Nagoya).

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/Media reports cited above.