High-Dimensional Isotope Effects in Earth and Planetary Processes

Huiming Bao, Louisiana State University

Stable isotope effects were discovered by physical chemists in 1940s but found their most devoted fans in Earth and planetary science community ever since. While impressive information in sources and reaction paths has been revealed by comparing the simple ratios of two isotopes of an element, high-dimensional isotope effects have shown to offer unique insights into many important processes in recent years. Planetary atmosphere is one of the fertile grounds to explore these effects. I will introduce the concept of high-dimensional isotope effects and highlight, as an example, the use of the O2-O3-CO2 chemistry in the stratosphere to paint a picture that atmospheric O2 has been mass-anomalously depleted in 17O during much of the Earth’s history. The degree of this depletion has been changing overtime with episodes of dramatic swings as recorded in rocks and minerals such as sulfate.

Read more about Bao on his faculty profile.

Host: David Fike

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