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Isotopic signatures

Dean, J. R.; Leng, M. J.; Mackay, A. W.


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Dr Jonathan Dean
Director of Admissions for Geography, Environmental Science & Earth Science | Lecturer in Quaternary Science

M. J. Leng

A. W. Mackay


© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Isotopes record human influence on the Earth System, providing evidence for the Anthropocene. Lead and sulfur isotopes detail pollution histories going back millennia. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes show substantial change since the Industrial Revolution, and especially since the 1950s, related to increased fossil fuel consumption and fertilizer production. Boron isotopes record ocean acidification related to CO2 emissions. Radioisotopes, for example plutonium, have been dispersed across the Earth since the 1950s due to nuclear weapons testing and can be used as stratigraphic markers for the time that carbon and nitrogen isotopes, and non-isotope proxies, show increased human influence on the Earth System.


Dean, J. R., Leng, M. J., & Mackay, A. W. (2018). Isotopic signatures. In Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, v.1 (197-203). Elsevier.

Online Publication Date Nov 29, 2017
Publication Date 2018
Deposit Date Feb 22, 2020
Publisher Elsevier
Pages 197-203
Book Title Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, v.1
ISBN 9780128096659; 9780128135761
Keywords Boron; Carbon; Cesium; Earth System; Golden spike; GSSP; Isotope; Lead; Nitrogen; Plutonium; Radioisotope; Suess effect; Sulfur
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