A Brief Review Of Marine Isotope Stages

2440 Words Nov 11th, 2014 10 Pages
Kendra McKoy
Draft 1
A brief review of Marine Isotope stages
The creation of marine isotope stages we know today was a carminative effort between several scientists and research institutions across decades. It first started with Cesare Emiliani who transferred to the University of Miami’s Institute of Marine Science in 1957. Emiliani had been investigating the cause and nature of Quaternary glaciations by examining foraminifera fossils from the marine sedimentary record for the Pleistocene Age. Moving to the University of Miami offered new opportunities for Emiliani to work with ongoing drilling projects and trained individuals. Emiliani’s work was heavily influenced by Harold Urey’s 1947 work on oxygen isotope ratios in calcite reflecting the ambient seawater it formed in. Emiliani incorrectly hypothesized that oxygen isotope ratios were dictated by temperature changes in the ocean but in 1967 Nicholas Shackleton proposed that isotopic changes were a result of terrestrial changes in ice volume that cause concurrent marine isotopic changes. We now know with confidence that Shackleton was correct. Marine oxygen isotopes are simply a mass balance between terrestrial storage of water and that in the marine realm. Oxygen has three stable isotopes, 16O, 17O, and 18O. 16O accounts for 99.76% of all oxygen and 17O and 18O account for 0.038% and 0.2% of oxygen’s total abundance respectively. Since the abundance of 17O is so low, it need not…
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