Earth Sciences


Stable Isotope Laboratory

The Stable Isotope Laboratory was established in 1981 to foster the applications of light stable isotopes of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen to problems in geology and archaeology. We actively encourage student research at the undergraduate as well as graduate level; the laboratory has supported diverse activities ranging from surface water hydrology to evolution of the Earth's mantle. Major areas of research emphasis now include paleoclimatology, global cycles, hydrology, fluid-rock interaction, and petrology. The laboratory is an open facility and since its inception has generated over 90,000 stable isotope determinations on samples of interest to industry and academia.


Finnigan-MAT 251: HD, CO2
Commissioned: 1982, modified 1993
Permanent magnet, triple-collector CO2, HD collector, microvolume inlet system

Finnigan-MAT delta-E: HD, O2, N2, CO2
Rebuilt at the Bremen FMAT factory, 1989; recommissioned: 1989
Electromagnet configuration, multiple-sample inlet system, 6 fixed Faraday collectors for CO2, N2, and O2,

Finnigan-MAT 252: HD, O2, N2, CO2
Commissioned: 1994
Electromagnet configuration, multiple-sample inlet system, GC-interface for peak
integration mode, 6 fixed Faraday collectors for CO2, N2, and O2, separate HD collector assembly, differentially pumped for GC-mass spectrometry


Fluorination lines (ClF3 or BrF5) silicate and phosphate oxygen
Carbonate oxygen and carbon line with 25-90 degrees C water bath reaction temperatures
Water oxygen (H2O/CO2 equilibration)
Cellulose line for oxygen isotope extraction for tree-ring paleoclimatology studies
Radio frequency and resistance furnace lines for hydrogen and carbon extraction from minerals, fluid inclusions, whole rocks, and organic matter
Mineral preparation facilities for magnetic or heavy-liquid mineral separations.
Binocular microscopes for micro-sampling
Gas mixing table for the preparation of isotopic standards



R.T. Gregory, PhD (1981) California Institute of Technology; BA (1974) University of California, San Diego. 

C.J. Yapp, PhD (1980) California Institute of Technology; BS (1971) University Wisconsin.

N.J. Tabor, PhD (2002) University of California, Davis; MS (1999) University of California, Davis; BS (1996)
University of Nebraska.

Research Associates

K.M. Ferguson, PhD (1990) Southern Methodist University; MS (1984) Arizona State University; BA (1977) Potsdam State College.

I. Richards, PhD (1994) University of Tennessee; BSC[Hon.] (1985) Monash University, Australia.

Contact Us

Those interested in services provided by the Stable Isotope Laboratory should contact:

Kurt Ferguson