The hidden identities of water molecules

All water drops might seem the same, but scientists can tell them apart based on something called their isotopic composition. Now, researchers are making maps of how water isotopes vary around the world, and it’s helping them do everything from track migratory animals to solve crimes. Learn more about isotopes and why scientists love them in my story for Nautilus.

Scientists are making maps like this one, which shows the varying proportions of heavy to light hydrogen atoms in precipitation across North America. (Credit: Bowen, G.J., Wassenaar L.I., Hobson K.A./