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Were Eastern Canary Islands Wetter 50,000 Years Ago?

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Author Topic: Were Eastern Canary Islands Wetter 50,000 Years Ago?  (Read 99 times)
Starlena
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« on: October 29, 2009, 02:48:12 am »

The research also is consistent with the observed decline in diversity of the highly moisture-sensitive land snails.

Land snail shells are abundant and sensitive to environmental change and as fossils they are well-preserved. Measurement of variations in oxygen isotope ratios of fossil shells can yield information about changes in ancient climatic conditions.

The shells are composed of the elements calcium, oxygen and carbon, which are combined to form a mineral known as aragonite. Oxygen atoms in aragonite are not all exactly alike. A small proportion of those atoms is slightly heavier than the majority, and these heavier and lighter forms of oxygen are called isotopes of oxygen.

Small changes in the ratio of heavy to light isotopes can be measured with a high degree of accuracy and precision. Variations in these ratios are related to climatic variables, including relative humidity, temperature and the oxygen isotope ratios of rainwater and water vapor in the environments in which land snails live.

Yanes presented the research at a scientific session of the 2009 annual meeting of The Geological Society of America in Portland, Ore., Oct. 18-21. The research was funded by Spain's Ministry of Science and Innovation and the National Science Foundation.

Image Courtesy NASA

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1776290/were_eastern_canary_islands_wetter_50000_years_ago/index.html
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