Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Radiogenic and Stable Isotope Methods
Work is focused annually on collaborating with high-priority U. S. Geological Survey projects and other Federal and international agencies, and on providing radiogenic and stable isotope analyses to support mineral- and environmentally-related geologic investigations.
- Radiogenic isotope techniques are used for analysis of materials, fluids, and fluid and solid inclusions from ancient and modern environments. Analytical procedures are improved and developed using thermal ionization mass spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for studies directed at: regional and site-specific metal mobilization, metal transport, redistribution processes, and sources of fluids for regional geologic, ore genesis, life-cycles, and environmental applications.
- Stable isotope work includes developing new and refining existing analytical techniques for the following applications:
- (1) oxygen isotope analysis of dissolved sulfate for studies of mine drainage, acid deposition and ecosystems;
- (2) hydrogen isotope analysis of silicate and other hydrated minerals for studies of ore genesis; and
- (3) sulfur isotope analysis of submilligram samples of sulfide and sulfate minerals using continuous-flow technology for environmental, ore genesis and ecosystem studies.
Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) machine in the lab of the Radiogenic and Stable Isotope Methods project, Reston, VA.
Photos of the project's Clean Lab in Reston.
(Cleanliness is based on the number of particles of a defined diameter per unit volume. According to
US Federal Standard, a Class 100 clean room must have no more than 100 particles of diameter
0.5 mm per cubic foot of air.)