Paleothermometry

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paleothermometry

[¦pāl·ē·ō·thər′mäm·ə·trē]
(geology)
Measurement or estimation of past temperatures.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Paleothermometry

 

in geology, the determination of the temperature at which a geologic process occurred in the past. Measurement of paleotemperatures can be based on the abundance of isotopes in organic remains, on the nature of inclusions of mother liquor and their behavior when heated, and on the distribution of admixtures in two simultaneously crystallized minerals. The methods of paleothermometry make it possible to determine the temperature of ore formation, the solidification temperature of vein and abyssal rocks, and annual temperature fluctuations in ancient seas.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This temperature dependency was first described in an empirical equation (for use as a paleothermometer of minerals) by McCrae (1950).
"If the correlation holds, we would have a thermometer that goes back in time, a paleothermometer of how hot or cold water temperatures were when the nacre formed," says Gilbert.
An increasingly versatile proxy determined from foraminifera tests is the Mg/Ca ratio, which is an important paleothermometer. Other promising proxies are: the Sr/Ca ratio in coccoliths, which correlates with rates of organic carbon fixation and calcifcation; [delta][sup.30]Si and [delta][sup.15]N values in diatoms, which denote nutrient utilization; and Sr/Ca and U/Ca ratios in corals, which relate to sea-surface temperatures.
Using a new type of paleothermometer the team developed, the researchers have determined the average temperatures during the Late Ordovician-the first time they have been able to tide over the issue.
The application of the organic paleothermometer [TEX.sub.86] (based on the distribution of species of membrane lipids of the marine picoplankton Crenarchaeota; Schouten et al.
The new "clumped-isotope" paleothermometer method used in the study analyzes two rare heavy isotopes, carbon-13 and oxygen-18, found in tooth enamel, bones and eggshells.
Now, scientists might be able to use phytoliths from long-decomposed plants unearthed from soil as paleothermometers, Zhenzhen Huang of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, reported May 26.