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The mineralogy of Helium

About Helium
Helium is the second lightest element, the lightest noble gas, and the second most abundant element in the known universe - up to 24% - which is 12 times the total of all heavier elements combined.

As an unreactive noble gas it is not found in minerals directly, but is found within uranium and thorium minerals as a product of radioactive decay. Alpha particles (helium nuclei He2+) capture electrons when stopped by the surrounding rock to become helium.
General Properties
Atomic Number:2
Standard atomic weight (Ar):4.002602(2)
Electron configuration:1s2
Vial of glowing ultrapure helium
Atomic Properties
Atomic Radius:31 pm
Van der Waals Radius:140 pm
1st Ionization energy:2372 kJ/mol
Physical Properties
Standard State:gas
Bonding Type:atomic
Boiling Point:4 K
Metal/Non-Metal:noble gas
Main isotopes of Helium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
3He 0.000137%stable
4He 99.999863%stable
Other Information
Year Discovered:1868
Discovered By:
Portrait of Janssen by Jean-Jacques Henner
Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer

Pierre Janssen, Norman Lockyer
Year Isolated:1895
Isolated By:
William Ramsay working
Per Teodor Cleve

William Ramsay, Per Teodor Cleve, Abraham Langlet
Named For:
Helios, Greek god of the Sun
CPK color coding:#D9FFFF
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Geochemistry of Helium
Goldschmidt classification:Atmophile
Elemental Abundance for Helium
Crust (CRC Handbook)8 x 10-9mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)7 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)7.2 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Atmosphere (NASA)5.24ppmas He
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)2.7 x 103atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)2.7 x 103atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)2.72 x 103atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species
Hydrogen << Helium >> Lithium

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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