Research

Noble gases hitch a ride on hydrous minerals

The Ring Cycle

Amphibole’s lattice structure is made up of tetrahedral and octahedral structures linked together in a way that creates a series of rings. It’s those rings — A-sites — that could provide a home for otherwise finicky noble gases. Credit: Parman lab/Brown University

The six noble gases do not normally dissolve into minerals, leaving earth scientists to wonder how they are subducted back into the Earth. Researchers at Brown have discovered that the lattice structure of minerals such as amphibole provides a way. Better yet, the multiple isotopes of noble gases could help scientists track volatiles like water and carbon.