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Published 1998 | public
Book Section - Chapter

Ion Microprobe Analysis of Oxygen, Carbon, and Hydrogen Isotope Ratios


Oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen are the most abundant elements in mineralizing fluids, and their isotope ratios provide a powerful tool for deciphering the complex histories of mineralizing systems (see Ohmoto, 1986; Kerrich, 1987; Taylor, 1987; Hebert and Ho, 1990). In particular, stable isotope ratios can be used to constrain theories of fluid sources, pathways, and fluxes, mechanisms of mineral reaction and exchange, and thermal evolution (see Valley, 1986; Bickle and McKenzie, 1987; Baumgartner and Rumble, 1988; Nabelek, 1991; Eiler et al., 1993; Skelton et al., 1995). Sulfur isotopes have special importance for the genesis of sulfide ores and are discussed in separate chapters of this volume (McKibben and Riciputi, 1998; Shanks et al., 1998). Microanalysis of boron isotope ratios was recently reviewed by Hervig (1996). This chapter will review studies of the stable isotopes of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen ^(18)O, ^(17)O, ^(16)O, ^(13)C, ^(12)C, ^2H (D), and ^1H (H), referred to collectively as stable isotopes) with emphasis on recent work that has attained accuracy in the 1 per mil range for δ^(18)O or δ^(13)C (10‰ for δD) that is necessary for research on terrestrial samples.

Additional Information

© 1998 Society of Economic Geologists. All workers in the Edinburgh lab thank John Craven for his skill in maintaining and modifying the Cameca ion microprobe, and for his tutelage, limitless assistance, and dire wit during its operation. This paper has also benefited from discussions with Ian Fitzsimons and from reviews by Rick Hervig and Lee Riciputi; it was submitted Jan. 5, 1996, and accepted Nov. 4, 1996. Most of the research described herein was supported by NSF, DOE, or NERC.

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