Stable isotope ratio measurement using a laser microprobe

  • Ian P. Wright
Part of the The Mineralogical Society Series book series (MIBS, volume 6)


Many elements have two or more stable isotopes and can, therefore, be usefully studied for variations in their isotope ratios. These isotopes, unlike those of the radioactive variety, are completely stable and do not disintegrate with time. As such, when a non-volatile material such as a mineral is formed, the constituent elements should theoretically retain their isotopic integrity forever; subsequent measurement of these isotope ratios may assist with an effective reconstruction of the formation conditions. In reality, the isotopic compositions of a particular mineral may become modified as a result of an external influence, such as a heating process during hydrothermal activity. In this case, stable isotope measurements may be able to document something of the secondary activity which has befallen the sample of interest.


Isotopic Composition Stable Isotope Fluid Inclusion Isotopic Fractionation Oxygen Isotopic Composition 
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Copyright information

© The Mineralogical Society 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian P. Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Planetary Sciences Unit, Department of Earth SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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