The field of stable isotope geochemistry began with the recognition that the oxygen isotope composition of ancient carbonates could be used as a paleothermometer (Urey 1947; Urey et al. 1951). As stated by Urey (1947), “Accurate determinations of the Ol8 content of carbonate rocks could be used to determine the temperature at which they were formed”. This concept was based on the temperature dependence for the oxygen isotope fractionation between calcite and water. Urey realized that if a mass spectrometer with sufficient precision could be built, a method of reproducibly extracting oxygen from...

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