Uranium isotopes (238U/235U) have emerged as a proxy to reconstruct the redox conditions of the Earth's oceans and atmosphere based upon the large isotopic fractionation between reduced U(IV) and oxidized U(VI). Variations in 238U/235U, particularly when recorded in carbonate sediments, can track global trends in marine oxygenation and de-oxygenation. It is unique from other proxies because reduction primarily occurs at the sediment-water interface, and this sensitivity makes U isotopes especially relevant for the habitability of benthic animals. This Element covers the background, methods, and case studies of this promising tool for understanding Earth's environmental transitions, as rapid development continues to refine the accuracy of interpretations of 238U/235U records.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)