Fossil coral dating

O—results in differentiation of the isotopes in the Earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere.

Thus, high concentrations of heavy oxygen in the ocean tell scientists that light oxygen was trapped in the ice sheets.Water molecules containing light oxygen evaporate slightly more readily than water molecules containing a heavy oxygen atom.At the same time, water vapor molecules containing the heavy variety of oxygen condense more readily.During ice ages, cooler temperatures extend toward the equator, so the water vapor containing heavy oxygen rains out of the atmosphere at even lower latitudes than it does under milder conditions.The water vapor containing light oxygen moves toward the poles, eventually condenses, and falls onto the ice sheets where it stays.

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