U-Th dating can be used to date various sample types including cave deposits/speleothems, corals, shells, bones and carbonate layers in sedimentary successions.
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- Sr Isotopes
- U-Th Dating
- Lead Isotopes
- Boron Isotopes
- Sr-Nd-Hf Isotopes
In geochemical research, stable and unstable isotopes are used to understand the chemistry behind natural processes. Isotopes are different forms of a single element, with differing numbers of neutrons within their nucleus, resulting in different atomic masses.
Paleoclimate archives are generally dated using two main methods: radiocarbon and uranium-thorium dating. 14C dating tends to be more accurate, however, it can only be used on samples that are less than around 50,000 years old. Whereas U-Th dating can be used for the last 500,000 years.
Stable and radioactive isotopes can be analysed in groundwater and surface water samples in order to assess the magnitude and origin of pollution, rate of pollution infiltration into the environment, and timing of water interactions with the atmosphere.
Shells, corals and other carbonates are widely used in order to assess variability in climate and environmental conditions in time. A variety of stable and radioactive isotopes can be used to date these samples and provide further information on environmental context during their lifespan.