Institute for Isotope Research and Nuclear Physics
University of Vienna
Isotope Studies of the Alpine Iceman Oetzi
Almost all substances on earth experience subtle changes of isotopic abundances through physical and chemical processes. Often these isotope signatures carry messages about the past, which can be traced through isotope ratio measurements with suitable mass spectrometric methods. In this way, "paleoforensic" studies were performed on the Iceman Oetzi, who emerged from a glacier of the Oetztal Alps near the Austrian-Italian border in 1991 after being preserved there for about 5200 years. Results from radioactive isotope analysis (14C/12C) with accelerator mass spectrometry, and of stable isotope analysis (18O/16O, 87Sr/86Sr, 206Pb/204Pb) with low-energy mass spectrometry will be discussed.