Noble Gas Mass Spectrometry in Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Rainer Wieler ETH Zürich



Cosmochemistry, Geochemistry, Mass spectrometry, Noble gases


Abstract: Noble gases are very rare elements in most relevant samples in geochemistry and cosmochemistry. Noble gases may perhaps also look rather boring to chemists, as they do not form any stable compounds. However, it is just their rarity and chemical inertness which makes noble gases versatile elements in a very wide range of fields, such as oceanography, climatology, environmental sciences, meteorite studies, rock dating, early solar system and early Earth history, and many others. Mass spectrometry is by far the main analytical tool in noble gas geochemistry and cosmochemistry, partly because the rarity of noble gases often allows researchers to recognize in the same sample different noble gas "components" of different origin and hence different isotopic composition. This contribution attempts to illustrate the wide range of applications of noble gas mass spectrometry in the Earth sciences with selected examples.