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The Ice Cores and Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Learning Tool explores the relationship between the heavy water (referring to both 2H216O and 1H218O) to light water ratio in ice cores and historical temperatures. Test your understanding of the information contained in this Learning Tool by answering the following questions:


True or False: Heavy water evaporates more readily than light water.

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The answer is false.


In water molecules from ice cores, the ratios of isotopes, 2H/1H and 18O/16O depends upon temperature of the water that precipitates from an air mass, and thus on average climatic temperatures. This allows climatologists to determine historical temperatures from analysis of the isotope ratios of hydrogen and oxygen in water molecules from ice cores. As temperature increases, the 18O/16O ratio   and the 2H/1H ratio  

  1. decreases; decreases.
  2. increases; decreases.
  3. decreases; increases.
  4. increases; increases.
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The correct answer is D.


Question For Thought

Consider the evaporation and condensation rates of water composed of 1H and 18O compared to those of water composed of 1H and 16O. How could this difference be used by climate scientists to measure temperature?