Radiogenic Laboratory

Radiogenic isotope geochemistry uses naturally radioactive elements to trace and date Earth processes.  On a variety of timescales (102-109 years) rocks and minerals can be dated by measuring the abundances of radioactive elements and their radiogenic daughter products.  Equally, different reservoirs within the Earth develop characteristic ratios of parent to daughter isotopes that through time result in distinctive isotopic compositions that can be used to trace geological processes.

The SUERC radiogenic isotope laboratory is equipped with both thermal ionization mass spectrometers (TIMS) and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometers (ICP-MS) allowing access to a wide range of radiogenic isotope applications.  In particular, we specialise in:

  • Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, (U,Th)-Pb and Lu-Hf isotopes in a wide variety of matrices ranging from rocks and minerals to bird blood and feathers.
  • 234U-230Th dating of carbonate samples (corals, travertines etc.) in the 100-100,000 year range.
  • High precision isotope dilution Sr/Ca determinations for palaeoclimatic reconstruction of sea surface temperature.
  • U isotope determination of environmental samples in sites contaminated with non-natural (enriched and depleted) U.
  • Non-traditional stable isotope applications e.g. Mg, Fe.
    Our laboratory is equipped with:
  • Suite of clean rooms for low-blank sample preparation
  • Two TIMS instruments – VG54E and VG Sector-54
  • Multiple-collector ICP-MS – Micromass IsoProbe-P
  • New Wave UP213 laser system for in situ micro-sampling for ICP-MS


For more information please contact Ryan Ickert.