Delta Lab – Stable Isotope Geochemistry

Natural Resources Canada, Quebec, Québec
What the facility does

Expertise and method development on stable isotope-based analyses for understanding crustal, environmental and airborne processes

Area(s) of Expertise

The Delta Lab at the Geological Survey of Canada in Quebec is a stable isotope laboratory dedicated to environmental research and basin analysis. Using a variety of state-of-the-art methods, the environmental research areas include hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen isotopes in atmospheric plumes, tree-ring sequences, forest components, and organic contaminants in various media in order to understand the cumulative effects in industrialized and mining sectors. These approaches also lead to paleo-climatic reconstruction permitting the separation of natural changes from anthropogenic impacts in the environment. The basin analysis work involves the application of carbon and oxygen clumped isotopes from carbonates to reconstruct the thermal regime of sedimentary basins.

Research Services

Specialized analysis and method development. 

Collaborative projects are treated on a case-by-case basis and selected through a proposal system. Projects must be aligned with, and contribute to, advancing laboratory strategic goals. They must also be closely aligned with the current Geological Survey of Canada program. Collaborative projects are undertaken on a cost-recovery basis.

Sectors of Application
  • Energy (renewable and fossil)
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Mining, minerals and metals



Fisons Instruments VG Prism III Isotope Radio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS) with a Carlo Erba NC 2500 Elemental Analyzer

IRMS for isotopic analysis of gases or solids for δ13C

Thermo Finnigan MAT Delta Plus XL Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer with a Thermal-Conversion Elemental Analyzer (pyrolysis) (TC-EA) and a GasBench II (GB)

Isotope ratio mass spectrometer for on-line isotopic analysis of δ18O and δ2H in solids and δ13C and δ18O of pure carbonates

Thermo Electron Corporation Delta V Plus Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer with three peripherals: GC IsoLink (gas chromatography), PreCon (trace gas pre-concentrator for isotope characterization) and Costech ECS 4010 (Elemental Combustion System)

  • GC-Isolink used for on-line combustion or pyrolysis of organic compounds (δ13C and δ2H)
  • PreCon used for N isotopes and triple O isotopic characterization of air and water
  • Costech 4010 optimized for δ13C and δ15N in solids

Thermo Scientific MAT 253 Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer and a Kiel IV Carbonate Device

High precision isotope ratio mass spectrometer with the specific clumped-isotopes collector design, fully dedicated to analyzing clumped isotopes in carbonates