Application of sulphur isotopes for stratigraphic correlation

Adina Paytan, Ellen T. Gray, Zhongwu Ma, Andrea Erhardt, Kristina Faul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The sulphur isotopic composition of dissolved sulphate in seawater has varied considerably through time. Certain time intervals are characterised by distinct variations and a relatively high rate of change. These relatively rapid fluctuations allow for correlation of sediment sections using sulphur isotopes. Sulphur isotope reconstructions based on the analysis of carbonate associated sulphate or marine barite result in sulphur isotope records with an age resolution of 1-5 million years (Ma), and for some age intervals the resolution is<0.25 Ma. At these specific time intervals, where higher resolution records exist and excursions in the record are identified, the trends could be used for stratigraphic correlations. Such records are particularly useful in sections from deep marine sites that lack biostratigraphic controls or where biozones do not provide sufficient resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalIsotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Drs Michael Böttcher and Jochen Hoefs for editing this special volume and Dr Marlene Reuschel for providing useful comments. The work was funded by an NSF CAREER award to A.P.


  • age
  • correlation
  • isotope hydrogeology
  • stratigraphy
  • sulphur-34

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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