Volcanic eruptions are significant geological events with far reaching implications. The analysis of isotopes in various sample types can provide information on the timing and magnitude of past volcanic eruptions.
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- Sr Isotopes
- U-Th Dating
- Lead Isotopes
- Boron Isotopes
- Sr-Nd-Hf Isotopes
In archaeological studies, lead isotopes are measured for two main applications: tracing origin of metal artefacts and reconstructing human origin and migratory patterns.
Boron isotopes are predominately made up of two naturally occurring stable isotopes – 10B and 11B. In the biosphere, boron represents a trace element integrated into organisms, allowing one to reconstruct variability in δ11B over time.
Strontium ratios have varied in the world’s oceans through time as a result of fluctuations in strontium type and availability, often resulting from weathering of continental materials as well as volcanic activity at the mid-oceanic ridge. Such variations are recorded in oceanic sediment as a result of the precipitation of minerals from seawater, which has been used as a basis for the 87Sr/86Sr marine curve.
Before a time series of climate variability can be developed, the coral growth bands must first be dated. Corals can be dated using radiocarbon dating, U-Th dating and/or Sr-Sr dating.
Isobar Science and Beta Analytic’s webinar on sediments focuses on dating & environmental reconstructions. This complimentary webinar takes place on December 2, 2021 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada).
Sediments used for climate and environmental reconstructions come in many different forms (including lacustrine, marine, peat, terrestrial and aeolian deposits) and can be characterized by their grain size, shape, sedimentary facies, chemical and biological composition and accumulation/sedimentation rate.
U-Th dating can be used to date various sample types including cave deposits/speleothems, corals, shells, bones and carbonate layers in sedimentary successions.
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.