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Relative Contributions of Uranium, Thorium, and Potassium to Heat Production in the Earth

Wasserburg, G. J. and MacDonald, Gordon J. F. and Hoyle, F. and Fowler, William A. (1964) Relative Contributions of Uranium, Thorium, and Potassium to Heat Production in the Earth. Science, 143 (3605). pp. 465-467. ISSN 0036-8075. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20151209-100330788

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Abstract

Data from a wide variety of igneous rock types show that the ratio of potassium to uranium is approximately 1 X 10^4. This suggests that the value of K/U ≈1 X 10^4 is characteristic of terrestrial materials and is distinct from the value of 8 X 10^4 found in chondrites. In a model earth with K/U ≈ 10^4, uranium and thorium are the dominant sources of radioactive heat at the present time. This will permit the average terrestrial concentrations of uranium and thorium to be 2 to 4.7 times higher than that observed in chondrites. The resulting models of the terrestrial heat production will be considerably different from those for chondritic heat production because of the longer half-life of U^(238) and Th^(238) compared with K^(40).


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.143.3605.465DOIArticle
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/143/3605/465PublisherArticle
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1712053JSTORArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Wasserburg, G. J.0000-0002-7957-8029
Additional Information:© 1964 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 18 December 1963. Supported by grants from the Atomic Energy Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Atomic Energy CommissionUNSPECIFIED
NASAUNSPECIFIED
NSFUNSPECIFIED
Office of Naval Research (ONR)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3605
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151209-100330788
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20151209-100330788
Official Citation:Relative Contributions of Uranium, Thorium, and Potassium to Heat Production in the Earth G. J. Wasserburg, Gordon J. F. MacDonald, F. Hoyle, and William A. Fowler Science 31 January 1964: 143 (3605), 465-467. [DOI:10.1126/science.143.3605.465]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62734
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Dec 2015 20:02
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 09:21

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