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Need to harvest it somehow, as we've got a shortage looming and a lot of MRIs to perform.


Isn’t helium *always* rising in Earth’s atmosphere? (Bc it’s lighter than air)


Helium does. But not the **concentration** of helium, i.e. "helium levels".


I mean, ok? The helium in our atmosphere is constantly being blown away by solar wind. It isn't really something that stays in the atmosphere.


Is this more causation = correlation? Never heard about helium relation to fossil fuels, but I'm also a moron.


I don’t know how it works, but helium is released during the drilling process. I’m assuming it’s just kinda trapped in there with the oil, but there’s technology now that is able to capture it. There’s a few drilling companies out there now that focus solely on collecting helium


Not exactly, but you are close. Helium is often (not always) found in natural gas deposits. It is not usually high enough concentration to be worth separating out from the methane, so it goes through the processing system and is either vented to the atmosphere at the gas plant or travels to the end user that burns the methane. Being inert, the helium just passes through the burner and goes out the exhaust into the atmosphere. The concentration of helium in some natural gas reservoirs is high enough that a separation process is added to extract and sell helium. The helium gas released during the drilling process for oil (or gas) is trivial in the grand scheme of things, compared to that released from burning natural gas. See: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20215085/full


Would helium concentrations be more prevalent in certain areas due to a higher amount of radioactive particles in those same regions? I know that the burning of coal releases more radiation than that of nuclear powerplants soley due to radioactive isotopes contained within coal so my idea is that this trapped helium is probably due to a few things. First being radioactive elements that undergo alpha decay and second being the local rock is tightly pacted not letting helium escape or shift from the deposit zone


It’s all He4 from radioactive decay. There is Thorium and Uranium (and other elements) found in sandstone that are decaying and releasing Helium all the time. It migrates to the same reservoirs as the methane. So yea, it does vary with location.


I know that it can be harvested during natural gas extraction - they're the ones who produce all the helium


If I can remember right, there are deposits of Helium3 on the moons atmosphere. Maybe a shortage will bring industry off of the planet


So in a thousand years people will have really high pitched voices?


Helium is so light that it will float to the top of the atmosphere, and then solar wind will blow it away into space.




I can't see how it would be a problem. It's an inert gas, so doesn't react with anything, and it's not a ghg as far as I know. If anything, we're more in danger of completely running out of helium on long enough time scales.


F’ing journal paywalls.


I've read several times that you can contact the author directly (they have an email link at the top of that page) and request a copy of the paper and they are happy to provide it for free.


They hate it as much as I do. Even they have to pay for copies of prints. And, we are a digital world. Elsevier has had a stranglehold monopolizing control of knowledge distribution for decades much to the scientific community’s chagrin. They have their shallow justifications but it comes down to greed.


> Even they have to pay for copies and prints No they don't. Stop lying


Then things have changed. I had to pay $15 per print after my first couple free ones. But I’ve been out of academia for a few decades.


It sure seems like an indirect way to measure the concentration of helium in the atmosphere over time. I’m pretty sure someone has that data - when I was doing mass spectrometry it was always present at a background of around 5ppm in air and you also could see it when using helium leak detectors. I wonder if it could also be the increased use of natural gas as a fuel source for metal processing over time.


Cool. One day we will live in a world where everyone talks like the chipmunks.