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Zircon has high hardness, high density, and high melting point, often forming microscopic, stubby, prismatic crystals with dipyramidal terminations (fig. Atoms of uranium and thorium within cooling magma replace up to 4% of the normal zirconium atoms within the lattice structure of zircon as it is crystallizing.
The diffusion and leakage rates are so great that believers in the billions of years had expected most of the helium produced during the alleged 4.5 billion years of the earth’s existence to have worked its way out of the crust and into the earth’s atmosphere long ago. When non-specialists hear that, they usually assume that (A) helium has risen to the top of the atmosphere as it would in a balloon, and (B) most of the helium has then leaked from the top of the atmosphere into space.However, assumption (A) is wrong, because unconfined helium spreads throughout the atmosphere from top to bottom, like any other gas.As the uranium and thorium nuclei in a zircon decay, they produce helium.For example, uranium-238 ( Helium is a lightweight, fast-moving atom that does not form chemical bonds with other atoms.It can diffuse through solids relatively fast, meaning that helium atoms wiggle through the spaces between atoms in a crystal lattice and spread themselves out as far from one another as possible.