The Carbon, Oxygen, and Clumped Isotopic Composition of Soil Carbonate in Archeology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The stable isotopic composition of soil carbonate is a powerful means of reconstructing past environments. Carbon isotopes allow archeologists to reconstruct the proportions of C3 and C4 plants, from which the overall extent of woody cover can be calculated, at least at lower latitudes. Oxygen isotopes provide a view of past climate, including moisture sources, soil evaporation, and, in some cases, paleotemperature. Clumped isotopes also allow soil temperatures to be reconstructed, which in modern soils and under seasonal climates reflect the warmest months of the year. On archeological (Quaternary) timescales, the isotopic composition of soil carbonate is very resistant to alteration and should be a robust, albeit low-resolution source of paleoenvironmental information for archeologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTreatise on Geochemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages129-143
Number of pages15
Volume14
ISBN (Print)9780080983004
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

Keywords

  • Carbon isotopes
  • Clumped isotopes
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Soil carbonate
  • Soil temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

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