Cerium and Neodymium Isotope Fractionation in Geochemical Samples

Friday, 19 December 2014
Takeshi Ohno and Takuya Ishibashi, Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan
The study of naturally occurring isotopic variations of rare earth elements (REE) has a potentially significant influence in geochemical research fields with other traditional studies of REE. One of the key features of REE are their chemical similarities and gradual changes of ionic radius, which may make the isotopic variation of REE a potential tool to understand the mechanisms of isotopic fractionation in nature. Among the REE, geochemical and physicochemical features of Ce could be anomalous, because Ce could be present as the tetravalent (+IV) state as well as the common trivalent (+III) state of other REE. Since the oxidation state of Ce can change by reflecting the redox conditions of the environment, the measured differences in the degree of isotopic fractionation between Ce and other REE can provide unique information about the redox conditions.

In this study, we developed a new analytical method to determine the mass-dependent isotopic fractionations of Ce and Nd in geochemical samples. The reproducibility of the isotopic ratio measurements on 142Ce/140Ce, 146Nd/144Nd and 148Nd/144Nd were 0.08‰ (2SD, n=25), 0.06‰ (2SD, n=39) and 0.12‰ (2SD, n=39), respectively. The present technique was applied to determine the variations of the Ce and Nd isotopic ratios for five geochemical reference materials (igneous rocks, JB-1a and JA-2; sedimentary rocks, JMn-1, JCh-1 and JDo-1). The resulting ratios for two igneous rocks (JB-1a and JA-2) and two sedimentary rocks (JMn-1 and JCh-1) did not vary significantly among the samples, whereas the Ce and Nd isotope ratios for the carbonate samples (JDo-1) were significantly higher than those for igneous and sedimentary rock samples. The 1:1 simple correlation between δ142Ce and δ146Nd indicates that there were no significant difference in the degree of isotopic fractionation between the Ce and Nd. This suggests that the isotopic fractionation for Ce found in the JDo-1 could be induced by physicochemical processes without changing the oxidation status of Ce, since the redox-reaction can produce larger isotopic fractionation than the reactions without changing the oxidation state. The variations in the Ce and Nd isotope ratios for geochemical samples could provide new information concerning the physico-chemical processes of the sample formation.