Teaching Stable Isotope Geochemistry in the Earth Sciences
Stable isotope geochemistry is one of the most powerful tools available to geoscientists, used to interrogate the Earth's composition, history, and processes. There are applications to virtually all parts of the Earth system and beyond: igneous and metamorphic petrology, ore bodies, sedimentology, paleoclimate, paleontology, hydrology, tectonics, atmospheric science, oceanography, meteoretics, biology/ecology, human health. Consequently, the principles and applications of stable isotope geochemistry should be taught and demonstrated throughout the Earth science curriculum. This website is designed to a) introduce the principles of stable isotope geochemistry, b) keep faculty current in their science by showcasing modern applications to research across the Earth system, c) explore ways to teach about stable isotopes in Earth science classes, and d) provide an activity and resource base to support instruction.
Ratios of stable isotopes in the shells of forams, such as those found in this nummulitic limestone, can be used to infer past climate conditions. Photo credit: Ian Geoffrey Stimpson.
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