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Contact: Brian Bell
bpbell@caltech.edu
626-395-5832
California Institute of Technology

A Geothermometer for Methane Formation (1 of 2)

Caption: John Eiler (left) and Daniel Stolper (right) with the Caltech-led team's prototype mass spectrometer -- the Thermo IRMS 253 Ultra. This instrument is the first equipped to measure abundances of rare isotopic versions of complex molecules, even where combinations of isotopic substitutions result in closely similar masses. This machine enabled the first precise measurements of molecules of methane that contain two heavy isotopes -- 13CH3D, which incorporates both a carbon-13 atom and a deuterium atom, and 12CH2D2, which includes two deuterium atoms.

Credit: Caltech

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Related news release: Caltech-led team develops a geothermometer for methane formation


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