Welcome to the Isotope Geochemistry Facility

Print version
Text Size: Change text to small (default) Change text to medium Change text to large
Enlarge Image
A view of the operating console for our new noble gas and helium isotope measurement system, MS3. The instrument is completely automated, operates 24/7 and can be remotely monitored and controlled.

Enlarge Image
Our rock analysis mass spectrometer system (MS2). This system has both a magnetic sector mass spectrometer custom designed for precision helium isotope measurements and a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) for noble gas measurements. The system is fully automated and can measure gases evolved from either crushed or melted rocks.

Enlarge Image
Our workhorse helium isotope and tritium measurement mass spectrometer system (MS1). This instrument was first designed and built in 1975, and has evolved, grown, and been modernized over the years. It is fully automated and runs 24/7.

About the Isotope Geochemistry Facility

The Isotope Geochemistry Facility was created in 1998 to provide state of the art noble gas abundance and isotope ratio measurements to the research community for a variety of materials, including seawater, fresh waters, groundwaters, natural gas, ice,  rocks, and minerals. The facility consists of a number of high-vacuum sample processing systems and mass spectrometers. We have three branch tube magnetic sector mass spectrometers designed specifically for full dual collection and high precision helium isotope ratio measurements, and a number of quadrupole mass spectrometers for noble gas abundance and isotope ratio measurements. The sample processing systems are all heavily automated and have sophisticated cryogenic systems for gas purfication and separation.

We have had extensive experience (more than four decades!) with 3He/4He isotope ratio measurementsa in seawater, having made in excess of 20,000 measurements for GEOSECS, TTO, SAVE, WOCE, CLIVAR, and GEOTRACES surveys as well as other smaller programs. We have recently extended our measurement capabilities to include dissolved noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe) in seawater.

We offer measurement services for the following:
1. Helium concentration and isotope ratio in natural waters (seawater, lake water, groundwater)
2. Tritium concentration in natural waters (for concentrations below 100 TU only)
3. Noble gas concentrations and isotope ratios in natural waters
4. He, Ne, and Ar abundances and isotope ratios in rocks by melting or crushing
5. He isotopes and Ne in natural gases.

This laboratory facility benefits from the combined funding and logistical support of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the U.S. National Science Foundation.


WHOI logo

Last updated June 7, 2013
© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. All rights reserved