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Chemical stratigraphy is the study of chemical variation within sedimentary sequences. New tools to analyze chemical composition and stable isotope geochemistry helped foster the establishment of this field in the early 1980s.
According to the American Geophysical Union, new developments of isotopic methods have experienced an “unprecedented” increase over the past few years, providing new information on Earth surface processes. Isotopic systematics are used to characterize and quantify erosion processes such as chemical weathering and physical erosion, regolith production, sediment transfer and water-rock interactions. Innovative techniques use stable isotopic systems (O, H, C, Li, B, Mg and Ca), cosmogenic nuclides (produced in situ or meteoric), uranium-series isotopes (U-Th and 210Pb), and radiogenic isotopes (Sr and Nd), among others.
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