A basic theoretical understanding of stable isotope fractionations can help researczzzhers plan and interpret both laboratory experiments and measurements on natural samples. The goal of this chapter is to provide an introduction to stable isotope fractionation theory, particularly as it applies to mass-dependent fractionations of non-traditional elements and materials. Concepts are illustrated using a number of worked examples. For most elements, and typical terrestrial temperature and pressure conditions, equilibrium isotopic fractionations are caused by the sensitivities of molecular and condensed-phase vibrational frequencies to isotopic substitution. This is explained using the concepts of vibrational zero-point energy and the partition function, leading...

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