Clay Keeps Records of Ancient Water – #365papers – 2018 – 56

Mix and Chamberlain, 2014, Stable isotope records of hydrologic change and paleotemperature from smectite in Cenozoic western North America: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 141, p. 532-546

What’s it about?

Smectite is a specific kind of clay mineral, common in volcanic ash. This kind of clay incorporates water during its formation, which, as the authors show, can provide a record of what surface water was like when the clay formed.

Why does it matter?

Isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in precipitation and surface water provide information about climate conditions, such as temperature and humidity. Water preserved in the smectite provides another means to look at ancient climate and climate change.

Why did I read this?

I have a love-hate relationship with clay, but a deep and abiding love of stable isotopes. I decided to read this to see if I could utilize isotopes from smectites in my own research.

What did I learn?

The answer to the above question (can I use isotopes from smectites in my own projects) is “possibly,” but I don’t feel like dealing with that chemistry and I need some other equipment, so probably not. I’m too lazy.

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: