May 21, 2020

The stable isotope fractionation of uranium in nature – unrelated to radioactive decay – has led to a profound tool for tracing O2 in the Earth’s oceans from the geological record. Feifei Zhang has gathered many of the leading researchers in the community to provide a summary of how uranium isotopes are being applied to the marine carbonate record.

Uranium isotopes in marine limestone can provide a ~10^5 yr time average and global-scale spatial average of the oxygenation state of the oceans through time. Picture: Stevns Klint, Rødvig, Denmark

Although promising, there are still ways to improve the proxy, which is a topic that we work on in the Geobiology lab at University of Copenhagen.

The review paper was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta