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Science. 2005 Nov 18;310(5751):1174-7.

Retention of xenon in quartz and Earth's missing xenon.

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Université Pierre et Marie Curie and Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 75252 Paris, France.


The reactivity of xenon with terrestrial oxides was investigated by in situ synchrotron x-ray diffraction. At high temperature (T > 500 kelvin), some silicon was reduced, and the pressure stability of quartz was expanded, attesting to the substitution of some xenon for silicon. When the quartz was quenched, xenon diffused out and only a few weight percent remained trapped in samples. These results show that xenon can be covalently bonded to oxygen in quartz in the lower continental crust, providing an answer to the missing xenon problem; synthesis paths of rare gas compounds are also opened.

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