A number of popular writings on the natural fission reactor at Oklo, Gabon (e.g. here) state that some of the energetic byproducts (krypton and xenon, presumably 85Kr and 133Xe) of the reactor were "trapped" in aluminophosphate.

How, exactly, does "aluminophosphate" (I assume this is some sort of framework mineral?) trap gaseous elements? Is it related to the mechanism by which clathrates trap gases?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Huh, I never even knew there was a natural nuclear reactor. Thanks for asking this question, I wouldn't have found out otherwise! $\endgroup$
    – hichris123
    May 27, 2014 at 0:41

1 Answer 1


According to Record of Cycling Operation of the Natural Nuclear Reactor in the Oklo/Okelobondo Area in Gabon, the Xe is trapped in crystalline cage-like structures formed of the aluminum phosphate that are similar to zeolites.

The reference also explains that the aluminum phosphate structures grow quickly under hydrothermal conditions of 270-300 degrees C.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.