Dissolved gas saturation anomalies and excess helium in the ocean

Craig, H, Weiss RF.  1971.  Dissolved gas saturation anomalies and excess helium in the ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 10:289-296.


New solubility measurements have been made for helium and neon in seawater; the results (published elsewhere) show that neon is actually supersaturated in the ocean, rather than generally undersaturated as indicated by previous data. The pattern of He-Ne-Ar saturation anomalies, based on the new solubility data, shows the presence of an injected “atmospheric component” in Atlantic surface and deep waters and in Pacific deep waters, ranging from 0.5 to 1 ml of air (STP)/kg seawater. Nitrogen-argon relationships in the deep Pacific are also consistent with this effect. In addition to T and P, a third parameter is thus required for the study of saturation anomalies. The magnitude of the injected air fraction accounts for all of the “excess He” in Atlantic Deep Water and about 60% of the excess in the Pacific. The non-atmospheric excess He in the Pacific corresponds to an anomaly of 3%, presumably radiogenic and primordial helium.