Minerals from Papua New Guinea Hold Secret for Recycling of Noble Gases Between Deep Earth and Atmosphere

Scientists find atmospheric gases trapped in minerals that are crystallized in Earth’s mantle

Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea, where mineral samples were taken for Baldwin and Das' study. (Photo by Paul Fitzgerald)

Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea, where mineral samples were taken for Baldwin and Das’ study. (Photo by Paul Fitzgerald)

With every breath we take, we inhale not only oxygen, but also a mix of gases. This mixture includes carbon dioxide and nitrogen, but also a gas called argon. Neon, the gas that illuminates the signs of all-night diners, is also in the mix.

Our lungs recycle atmospheric argon and neon, in and out with every breath, but lungs are not alone in the recycling game. The Earth, itself, recycles atmospheric gases into the deep Earth and back to the surface again, but on a much longer time scale. [read on]

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