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Extinct 244Pu from ancient zircons

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Grenville Turner
  • T. Mark Harrison
  • Greg Holland
  • Stephen J. Mojzsis
  • Jamie Gilmour
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2004
Issue number5693
Number of pages3
Pages (from-to)89-91
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We have found evidence, in the form of fissiogenic xenon isotopes, for in situ decay of 244Pu in individual 4.1- to 4.2-billion-year-old zircons from the Jack Hills region of Western Australia. Because of its short half-life, 82 million years, 244Pu was extinct within 600 million years of Earth's formation. Detrital zircons are the only known relics to have survived from this period, and a study of their Pu geochemistry will allow us to date ancient metamorphic events and determine the terrestrial Pu/U ratio for comparison with the solar ratio.