Isotopic fractionation of alkali earth metals during carbonate precipitation

Friday, 19 December 2014
Toshihiro Yotsuya1, Takeshi Ohno1, Yasuyuki Muramatsu1, Gen Shimoda2 and Kosuke T Goto3, (1)Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan, (2)Sangyo Gijutsu Sogo Ken, Tsukuba, Japan, (3)Geological Survey of Japan, Tsukuba, Japan

The alkaline earth metals such as magnesium, calcium and strontium play an important role in a variety of geochemical and biological processes. The element ratios (Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) in marine carbonates have been used as proxies for reconstruction of the past environment. Recently several studies suggested that the study for the isotopic fractionation of the alkaline earth metals in marine carbonates has a potentially significant influence in geochemical research fields (e.g. Eisenhauer et al., 2009).

The aim of this study is to explore the influence of carbonate polymorphs (Calcite and Aragonite) and environmental factors (e.g., temperature, precipitation rate) on the level of isotopic fractionation of the alkaline earth metals. We also examined possible correlations between the level of isotopic fractionation of Ca and that of other alkaline earth metals during carbonate precipitation.

In order to determine the isotope fractionation factor of Mg, Ca and Sr during carbonate precipitation, calcite and aragonite were synthesized from calcium bicarbonate solution in which the amount of magnesium was controlled based on Kitano method. Calcium carbonates were also prepared from the mixture of calcium chlorite and sodium hydrogen carbonate solutions. The isotope fractionation factors were measured by MC-ICPMS.

Results suggested that the level of isotopic fractionation of Mg during carbonate precipitation was correlated with that of Sr and that the change of the carbonate crystal structure could make differences of isotopic fractionations of Mg and Ca, however no difference was found in the case of Sr. In this presentation, the possible mechanism will be discussed.