Tungsten Stable Isotope Compositions of Ferromanganese Crusts

Friday, 19 December 2014: 3:10 PM
Kathrin Abraham1, Jane Barling1, James R Hein2, Edwin A Schauble3 and Alex N Halliday1, (1)University of Oxford, Departement of Earth Sciences, Oxford, United Kingdom, (2)U.S. Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, (3)UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, United States
We report the first accurate and precise data for mass-dependent fractionation of tungsten (W) stable isotopes, using a double spike technique and MC-ICPMS. Results are expressed relative to the NIST 3136 W isotope standard as per mil deviations in 186W/184W (δ186W). Although heavy element mass-dependent fractionations are expected to be small, Tl and U both display significant low temperature isotopic fractionations. Theoretical calculations indicate that W nuclear volume isotopic effects should be smaller than mass-dependent fractionations at low temperatures. Hydrogenetic ferromanganese (Fe-Mn) crusts precipitate directly from seawater and have been used as paleoceanographic recorders of temporal changes in seawater chemistry. Crusts are strongly enriched in W and other metals, and are a promising medium for exploring W isotopic variability. Tungsten has a relatively long residence time in seawater of ~61,000 years, mainly as the tungstate ion (WO42-). Water depth profiles show conservative behaviour. During adsorption on Fe-Mn crusts, W species form inner-sphere complexes in the hexavalent (W6+) state. The major host phase is thought to be Mn oxides and the lighter W isotope is expected to be absorbed preferentially. Surface scrapings of 13 globally distributed hydrogenetic Fe-Mn crusts display δ186W from -0.08 to -0.22‰ (±0.03‰, 2sd). A trend toward lighter W isotope composition exists with increasing water depth (~1500 to ~5200m) and W concentration. One hydrothermal Mn-oxide sample is anomalously light and Mn nodules are both heavy and light relative to Fe-Mn crusts. Tungsten speciation depends on concentration, pH, and time in solution and is not well understood because of the extremely slow kinetics of the reactions. In addition, speciation of aqueous and/or adsorbed species might be sensitive to pressure, showing similar thermodynamic stability but different effective volumes. Thus, W stable isotopes might be used as a water-depth barometer in marine environments; time-series in Fe-Mn crusts may show a heavier isotope composition in older crust layers due to the shallower water environments in the early history of the seamounts on which the crusts grow.