The Wollongong Isotope Geochronology Laboratory (WIGL) implements isotopic and geochemical techniques to study geological and biological processes. It provides tools for applications to Quaternary and early Earth environmental studies, archaeological and biomedical sciences. Research themes are diverse:
Earth’s surface processes and their role on global geochemical cycles
- Soil formation, weathering rates and sediment transport times using uranium-series isotopes in soil and sediments;
- Catchment-wide erosion rates and rock outcrop exposure ages using in-situ cosmogenic beryllium-10.
Quaternary environmental response to climate change, tectonic and human activity
- Catchment erosion using uranium isotopes in sedimentary deposits;
- Chemical weathering conditions and pedogenesis using lithium and boron isotopes in sedimentary deposits.
- Quaternary environmental response to climate change, tectonic and human activity;
- Isotopes and trace elements in speleothems to re-construct palaeo-environments.
Isotopic applications to archaeology and palaeontology
- Dating teeth, bones and speleothems using U-Th dating;
- Provenance of material of archaeological significance using Sr and Nd isotopes;
- Tropic chain, diet and mobility of ancient animals using Sr and Ca isotopes.
Environments of the Precambrian and Phanerozoic, and the evolution of life
- Using lithium isotopes to study palaeo-environmental changes in the Proterozoic and the emergence of complex life.
Biomedical research: metal homeostatis and pathologies
- Mapping of metal distribution in biological tissues
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease studied using copper isotopes;
- Chronic kidney disease and vascular calcification studies using calcium isotopes.