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Clumped isotopes can be used to investigate past climate changes by reconstructing temperatures from diverse archives.
A key challenge for labs performing ice core analysis is minimizing the sample size of these precious ice core samples.
Geochronology involves understanding time in relation to geological events and processes. Geochronological investigations examine rocks, minerals, fossils and sediments. Absolute and relative dating approaches complement each other. Absolute age determination is performed by radiogenic isotope dating methods such as U-(Th)-Pb, U-series, K-Ar and Ar-Ar methods, as well as Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd and Re-Os dating techniques. Relative age determinations involve paleomagnetism and stable isotope ratio calculations, as well as techniques such as bio- or paleo-stratigraphy.
The past climate helps us to understand climate change and how it can affect us today. Isotopic analysis of ice cores and biogenic carbonates can be linked to past temperatures and global sea level variations. Also, clumped-isotope thermometry attracts growing interest as a very powerful tool for paleotemperature reconstructions.
How was our planet formed and how did it evolve through time? What do we know about the formation of the solar system? What about the other planets around us? The natural variations in the relative abundances of isotopes and elements are used as tools to explain the mechanisms behind geological systems on Earth and in the cosmos. These provide insights into a variety of processes, like the evolution of the Earth surface over time and its deeper geochemical reservoirs, the evolution of the ocean chemistry and Earth's climate.
Isotopic signatures in a wide variety of complex organic compounds reveal unique insights in biological and biogeochemical processes. This is true as chemical, physical and geological processes lead to changes in the natural isotope composition of organic compounds. For instance, the isotopes 13C, 18O, 15N and 2H provide scientists with a wealth of information on topics such as the origin of compounds, pathways of metabolism, synthesis and diagenesis as well as conditions of formation, and more. Such information in key to understanding processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment.