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Delta, Isotopic

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The delta notation (symbol: δ) expresses the variation of an isotopic ratio of an element R (e.g., δ18O = 18O/16O), relative to the isotopic ratio of a standard Rstd (e.g., δ18OV-SMOW = 18O/16O = 2005.20 ± 0.45 × 10−6, where V-SMOW is Standard Mean Ocean Water). The delta notation is expressed in terms of percent (for hydrogen) or per mil (parts per thousand, ‰) for other elements. The delta notation was invented first to express in a convenient and readable way the variability of isotopic ratio in many natural systems in which the range is in the third to fifth decimal place. It also removes the need to report absolute isotope abundancs and replaces them with relative deviations with respect to well distributed standards.

See also

Carbon Isotopes as a Geochemical Tracer

Hydrogen Isotopes

Iron Isotopes

Nitrogen Isotopes

Oxygen Isotopes

Sulfur Isotopes

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Correspondence to Daniele Pinti .

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© 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Pinti, D. (2011). Delta, Isotopic. In: , et al. Encyclopedia of Astrobiology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_406

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