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Applied Isotope Geochemistry

Vol. 48, 2019
Editors: Bruce Eglington, Mostafa Fayek, Kurt Kyser
ISBN: 978-0-921294-62-7

Topics of Mineral Sciences Vol. 48Isotope geochemistry is an integral part of the Earth sciences, particularly in revealing the fourth dimension of our science (time), revealing the processes involved in natural systems, and tracing the flux of elements through geosphere-hydrosphere-biosphere. As such, isotope geochemistry is built on a platform of pure and theoretical science, but is primarily an applied science that adds value to mineral exploration, environmental stewardship, whole earth ecology, timing and causes of evolution, paleoclimate and even food authentication.

The aim of this short course was to introduce to the greater geosciences community the utility of using isotopes to understand processes that govern mass transport in the geosphere. Although, a number of chapters and books have been written on the application of isotopes in various short course volumes, this short course volume is dedicated to both radiogenic and stable applications for the geosciences.

The concept of this book was envisioned by Professor Kurt Kyser (1951-2017), Queen’s University. The volume begins with the application of isotopes to the exploration of volcanic massive sulphide deposits. The next three chapters focus on the application of radiogenic isotopes to mineral and fluid systems, whereas chapter 5 introduces current approaches to data assessment, primarily for detrital zircon samples, and introduces some new approaches which aid in the simultaneous treatment of large sets of data. Chapter 6 applies noble gas isotopes to geothermal systems, and in Chapter 7 heavy metal isotopes are used to trace anthropogenic contaminants in the environment. The final chapter is about the application of clumped isotopes and their utility in obtaining information about paleo-environments.

However, this volume has some glaring omissions including transition metal isotopes, and the application of isotopes to understanding clay minerals and the hydrosphere. It is our hope that other researchers will be inspired by this work and a similar volume will be organized in the future, as techniques continue to evolve.