The stable isotope ratios of light (H, C, O) elements vary greatly in nature and can be use to understand geological and biological processes. In particular, stable isotopes are potent tools for understanding, fluid-rock interactions, tracing the hydrologic cycle, paleoclimatology, and ecosystem ecology as well as paleothermometry.
The research program at SMU stresses the evolution of the Earth's fluid envelope and lithosphere. Current projects address diverse topics ranging from the origin of quartz veins in the continental crust to the climate history of the Earth. Interaction of seawater with the cooling oceanic crust at midocean ridges are being investigated as well as anthropogenic inputs of CO2 into the atmosphere. The isotopic concentrations in goethite (a-FeOOH) and hematite (a-Fe2O3) are being measured to understand levels of O2 and CO2 in paleo-atmospheres.