Baseline bioavailable strontium and oxygen isotope mapping of the Adelaide Region, South Australia

Lee Rippon, Mark Rollog, David Bruce, Juraj Farkas, Donald Pate, Tim Owen, Teghan Lucas, Stuart McCallum, Ian Moffat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strontium and oxygen isotopes provide a useful method for provenancing bioapaties, such as teeth and bone. In order for this approach to be successful, regional baseline bioavailable isotope data are required; however, few
databases are currently available in Australia. This study measured stable oxygen and bioavailable strontium isotope ratios from low mobility fauna sampled from the major geological and physiographic provinces in Adelaide, South Australia in order to create a database for this region.

Bioavailable strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) obtained from the predominantly siliciclastic metasediments of the Neoproterozoic Adelaide Geosyncline have a range of 0.7122 ± 0.0001 to 0.7202 ± 0.0001. Cainozoic
samples (dominantly terrestrial fluvial/lacustrine and marine carbonate sediments) from the Adelaide Plains have values in the range of 0.7098 ± 0.0002 to 0.7121 ± 0.0001. Samples from the alluvial fan sediments near the Eden-Burnside Fault at the boundary between these regions have values of 0.7131 ± 0.0001 to 0.7143 ± 0.0001. Stable oxygen isotope results range from − 9.5 to − 4.5‰ δ18OC (VPDB) and do not appear to vary systematically based on elevation, temperature, rainfall or humidity.

These results demonstrate that strontium isotopes are potentially a useful tool for provenance studies withinthe Adelaide area. Oxygen is probably a more appropriate tool for discriminating seasonality rather than location within the study region.

This research also suggests that rats are better suited for mapping strontium isoscapes than koalas, and that, while (non-systematic) offsets appear to exist between laser ablation multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICPMS) and thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) data, this effect is considerably less than the variation between geological provenances in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102614
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume34, Part A
Early online date13 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Strontium isotopes
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Provenance
  • Archaeological chemistry
  • Archaeology
  • South Australia
  • Oxygen Isotopes
  • Strontium Isotopes


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