Understanding the dynamics of our planet

Geosciences encompass the study of the four major parts on our planet: rocks, water, air and life. If you look closer at the various disciplines, you will see that geosciences cover a very broad field of applications.

How does our planet work? What is it made of and why we can live here? Can volcanic eruptions be predicted? How will human activities affect the future of our planet? What is the age of our planet? Geoscientists are able to answer these questions with a wide variety of Thermo Fisher Scientific products.

One of the ways to understand the chemical and physical evolution of the Earth, planets and other bodies of the solar system is by looking at the natural variations in isotope abundances of elements. Here we post the latest application developments and interesting scientific contributions related to our planet.

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Reconstructing climate from the past using isotopes

Reconstructing climate from the past using isotopes

Isotopic analysis of small samples of CaCO3 is increasingly important in paleoclimatic reconstructions

Combining multiple ICP-MS systems for zircon petrology

Combining multiple ICP-MS systems for zircon petrology

ICP-MS combined with laser ablation is a powerful technique to get unique information on the age and formation of zircon minerals. This note describes how a single and multicollector ICP-MS were combined with a laser ablation system. This so-called “laser ablation split stream” technique enables simultaneous analysis of both U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope ratios within one spot.

In Situ Geochemical Analysis

In Situ Geochemical Analysis

With substantial capital investments at stake, it is crucial for mining companies to quickly identify and recover the most economically viable resources.

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Geochronology invovles age dating. Whether rocks, minerals, fossils, sediments and other materials. One distinguishes between absolute and relative age dating techniques. Absolute age determination is performed by numeric dating methods, such as U-series methods, K-Ar and Ar-Ar methods, as well as Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd and Re-Os dating techniques.  Relative age determination uses paleomagnetism and stable isotope ratio calculation.

Climate Change Research

The past climate helps us understand climate change and how it can affect us today. Isotopic analysis of ice cores and biogenic carbonates can be linked to temperature and global sea level variations. Also, clumped-isotope thermometry is attracting growing interest as a very powerful tool for paleotemperature reconstructions. Read more about how gas IRMS technology is supporting climate research.


How was our planet formed and how did it evolve through time? What do we know about the formation of the solar system? What about the other planets around us? The natural variations in the relative abundances of isotopes of various elements can be used as tools to explain the mechanisms behind geological systems on Earth and in the cosmos. These provide insights into a variety of processes, like the evolution of the Earth surface, the evolution of the ocean chemistry and Earth climate, weathering processes on Earth, and many more.


Isotopic signatures in a wide variety of complex organic compounds can reveal unique insights in biological and biogeochemical process. This is true as chemical and physical processes lead to changes in the natural isotope composition of organic compounds. The isotopes 13C, 18O, 15N and 2H provide scientists with a wealth of information on the origin of compounds, pathways of metabolism, synthesis and diagenesis as well as conditions of formation, and more.


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