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Stable isotopic fingerprint of resins and ambers: validation of a novel paleoclimatic indicator Open Access


Other title
stable isotopic composition of ambers and resins
amber a paleoclimatic indicator
deuterium seasonal variability of modern conifer resins
deuterium isotopic exchangeability of ambers
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
González, Gabriela del Pilar
Supervisor and department
Muehlenbachs, Karlis (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Muehlenbachs, Karlis (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Erbilgin, Nadir (Renewable Resources Sciences)
Wolfe, Alexander (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Hydrous and anhydrous thermal maturation experiments were conducted to assess the extent to which diagenetic alteration overprints the primary stable δD and δ13C isotopic composition of resins. Modern resins recorded an average post-metabolic D exchange <1.9%, compared to only <0.5% for polymerized ambers, and no significant changes were observed in their δ13C. This study also evaluated the seasonal variability of modern resins, to better constrain the primary δD variability of resins. Accordingly, it was observed that in injury-induced resins, the seasonal δD variability could reach up to 80‰, recording short-term climate fluctuations (2–15 days). Moreover, the deuterium fractionation factor between resin and precipitation water (εresin-ppt) was found to be -228 ± 19‰. Overall, these results indicate that in resins, D isotopic exchange occurs prior to polymerization, thereby confirming that the stable isotopic composition of their fossilized counterparts constitute a potentially sensitive proxy for paleoenvironmental reconstructions.
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Citation for previous publication
González, G., Wolfe, A. P., Muehlenbachs, K. (2013). “Environmental controls and seasonal variability on the δ2H composition of conifer resins”. CANQUA. Alberta, Canadá.González, G., Tappert, R., Wolfe, A. P., Muehlenbachs, K. (2012). “Is the deuterium isotope composition of amber a reliable inland paleoclimatic indicator?”. Mineralogical Magazine, 76, 1773.González, G., Tappert, R., Wolfe, A. P., Muehlenbachs, K. (2012). “Deuterium isotopic exchangeability of resin and amber at low thermal stress under hydrous conditions”. European Geophysical Union General Assembly, Vienna, Geophysical Research Abstracts 14: EGU2012-6836-2.

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