The Reston Stable Isotope Laboratory conducts research on the use of isotope ratio measurements in studies of water resources and environmental quality. One objective of the RSIL project is to develop new techniques for isotopic analysis of oxygen-bearing, sulfur-bearing, carbon-bearing, hydrogen-bearing, and nitrogen-bearing materials. New analytical techniques expand the range of tools available for studying the movement of those elements in hydrologic and biogeochemical systems. Another objective of the project is to test new applications of isotope measurements in specific field settings. Field studies of isotope behavior have contributed to understanding water-supply sustainability, ground-water/surface-water interactions, paleoclimate history, biologic cycling of nutrients, ground-water contamination, and natural remediation. This project also contributes to the improvement of measurement science and the development of isotope databases, as well as providing isotope analyses on a routine basis to a large user community within the USGS and elsewhere.
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