Isotope Geochemistry - Wang Xianfeng

This research team uses istotope geochemistry as a tool to solve the mysteries of paleoclimate. Xianfeng Wang and his group seek to understand how hydro-climates change in the tropics during late Pleistocene and Holocene, how the changes relate to those in other parts of the world, if they are connected at all, and how tropical climate changes influence human society or vice versa.

To achieve these, the team works with both terrestrial and marine sediment samples from the tropics, including speleothems and corals. Sample ages are typically determined by high precision radiometric dating techniques, while their stable isotopic compositions and elemental ratios are often applied for semi-quantitative climate assessments and correlations.

The main areas of research involve the study of hydrology of climate through speleothem records and the study of corals as indicators of sea level changes.

Latest Projects

For this project we propose a multi-proxy (trace elements, water inclusion and carbonate δ18O) study on speleothems collected from sites along a SW-NE transect in a region dominated by the Indian monsoon.

Stable Barium isotopes (δ137Ba) in seawater can provide information on nutrient cycling, productivity, and riverine inputs in the ocean.

Our knowledge of past sea-level change is largely relying on high-precision uranium/thorium disequilibrium dating on fossil corals.

By studying mercury isotopes in particle bound mercury, Wang and team are trying to understand whether the isotopic composition is representative of anthropogenic pollution sources or is modified by atmospheric phenomenon.

In a joint effort involving tectonics, geomorphology, carbonate sedimentology, and geochronology, this project will revisit corals along Sumatra's northern coast to refine seisimic hazard estimates.

Any dramatic climate change in the tropical Indo-Pacific may threaten the livelihoods of more than half of the world’s population. The Isotope Geochemistry team is reconstructing past climate patterns to learn the ultimate mechanisms that drive...