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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

Helium flux from the solid earth

Yuji Sano
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 20, No. 5, P. 227-232, 1986


Taking into account the 3He/4He ratio in pore water of Pacific deep sea sediments and the ratio variation with thickness of sedimentary layers in the continental crust area, we estimated 3He and 4He fluxes for each part of the solid earth: ocean floor, the continent, and volcanic areas. Results suggest that the 4He flux from the continent accounts for large amount of total outflow, whereas the principal sources of 3He are volcanic areas including mid-ocean ridges, hot spots and subduction zones. Helium-3 flux from the ocean floor contributes little to its mass balance in the atmosphere in spite of the ocean's dominance in the surface of the earth. Based on the total fluxes and inventories of 3He and 4He in the atmosphere, their average residence times can be obtained as 3.3 × 106 and 8.4 × 106 years, respectively.

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