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Three-isotope plot of oxygen
03/04/13

 

A three-isotope plot of oxygen begins with the Earth-standard mean ocean water ratio (SMOW). Departures from SMOW in the fractions of oxygen-17 (vertical axis) and oxygen-18 (horizontal axis) fall along a slope of about one-half, a sign of processes solely dependent on the differing isotope masses. In meteorites and other interplanetary sources, differing oxygen ratios fall on a different slope, signaling chemical processes as well as physical ones. Credit: Berkeley Lab



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