This course and the accompanying text should be of value to SEPM members as well as to other geologic professionals. Stable isotope geochemistry has come into its own in the last few years as our inventory of processes and materials has improved from the result of much basic research. Stable isotope techniques should become a standard application to most studies of sedimentary rocks and depositional environments, and we emphasize that it has applications in explorat: ion for hydrocarbons and minerals as well as in basic research.
However, rapid progress depends on adequate and proper education of professionals in the techniques, the correct selection of samples, consideration of problems of interpretation, and concern for other types of data required to constrain interpretation of stable isotopic data. This text is designed to supplement the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists continuing education course dealing with the application of stable isotopes to geologic problems. Stable isotope geochemistry is taught in relatively few universities or colleges, and although a few textbooks and other volumes present general principles of stable isotope geochemistry, they contain few adequate, well documented case studies or applications to relevant problems of interest to sedimentary geologists or paleoecologists. These short notes are an integral part of this course and should also fill a void in the literature. However, we do not pretend that the coverage of topics is entirely comprehensive. For example, the reader will find relatively little concerning the stable isotopic compositions of clay minerals, biogenic silica or chert.