In contrast to most other fields of noble gas geochemistry that mostly regard atmospheric noble gases as ‘contamination,’ air-derived noble gases make up the far largest and hence most important contribution to the noble gas abundance in meteoric waters, such as lakes and ground waters. Atmospheric noble gases enter the meteoric water cycle by gas partitioning during air/water exchange with the atmosphere.

In lakes and oceans noble gases are exchanged with the free atmosphere at the surface of the open water body. In ground waters gases partition between the water phase and the soil air of the quasi-saturated zone, the...

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