Statistical clumped isotope signatures

T. Röckmann*, M.E. Popa, M.C. Krol, M.E.G. Hofmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

High precision measurements of molecules containing more than one heavy isotope may provide novel constraints on element cycles in nature. These so-called clumped isotope signatures are reported relative to the random (stochastic) distribution of heavy isotopes over all available isotopocules of a molecule, which is the conventional reference. When multiple indistinguishable atoms of the same element are present in a molecule, this reference is calculated from the bulk ( ‰average) isotopic composition of the involved atoms. We show here that this referencing convention leads to apparent negative clumped isotope anomalies (anti-clumping) when the indistinguishable atoms originate from isotopically different populations. Such statistical clumped isotope anomalies must occur in any system where two or more indistinguishable atoms of the same element, but with different isotopic composition, combine in a molecule. The size of the anti-clumping signal is closely related to the difference of the initial isotope ratios of the indistinguishable atoms that have combined. Therefore, a measured statistical clumped isotope anomaly, relative to an expected (e.g. thermodynamical) clumped isotope composition, may allow assessment of the heterogeneity of the isotopic pools of atoms that are the substrate for formation of molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31947
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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    Röckmann, T., Popa, M. E., Krol, M. C., & Hofmann, M. E. G. (2016). Statistical clumped isotope signatures. Scientific Reports, 6, [31947]. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep31947