Affiliations: Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Sciences
The Lawrence Alexander Hardie Undergraduate Research Award in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Use of 17O Isotope in Ethiopian Rainwater to Develop New Paleoclimate Proxy
17O is an isotope of oxygen, indicating it has a different mass than normal oxygen. Mass differences cause isotope fractionation in water during phase changes (evaporation, condensation, etc.). The more common 18O-isotope and hydrogen isotope in water have been thoroughly studied. However, 17O has not been deeply explored. Using rainwater from four collection stations in Ethiopia, the 17O-composition of rainwater will be analyzed to determine 17O-variation as a function of rain amount and moisture source and then compared to 18O and hydrogen isotopes in the same samples. Observations will be used to develop 17O-records as tools for reconstructing past climate.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Naomi Levin