Zircon-Helium Ratios

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Uranium and thorium are subject to alpha decay, i.e. they emit alpha particles, which are actually nuclei of helium. Analysis of the helium content of those same zircon samples revealed strikingly high helium retention in those crystals. The helium should have diffused out of the zircon samples even more rapidly than the lead would have, if the earth were more than several thousands of years old. Thus if the zircons were really 1.5 billion years old, as conventionally assumed, then nearly all the helium should have dissipated from the samples.(1)

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