Nuclear Volume Effects in Equilibrium Stable Isotope Fractionations of Hg, Tl and Pb Isotope Systems

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Sha Yang, CAS Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijng, China and Yun Liu, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang, China
Many evidences showed that heavy isotope systems could be significantly fractionated as the consequence of the nuclear volume effect (NVE) or so-called nuclear field shift effect. Here we investigate NVEs of Hg, Tl and Pb isotope systems by using quantum chemistry computational methods with careful evaluation on quantum relativistic effects via the Dirac’s formalism of full-electron wavefunction. Our results generally agree with previous studies but with noticeable differences in many cases. With the unique NVE driving force, equilibrium 202Hg/198Hg and 205Tl/203Tl isotopes can be fractionated up to 3.94‰ and 2.78‰ at 0℃, respectively, showing potentially large equilibrium isotope fractionations can be expected for future studies of these two isotope systems. Moreover, the NVE causes large mass-independent fractionations (MIF) for odd-mass isotopes (e.g., ∆199NVHg and ∆201NVHg) and small MIFs for even-mass isotopes (e.g., ∆200NVHg). For Pb isotope system, NVEs induce isotope fractionations up to 1.62‰ (207Pb/206Pb) and 4.06‰ (208Pb/206Pb) at 0℃. However, contributions from classical mass-dependent driving force are small, about 0.1-0.5‰ for 207Pb/206Pb and 0.2-0.9‰ for 208Pb/206Pb. We find that Pb4+-bearing species can be significantly enriched heavy isotopes than Pb2+-bearing species. Comparing to Pb0, Pb2+-bearing species even enrich lighter Pb isotopes. A very strange and interesting thing is that the beta value of Pb2+-bearing species can be smaller than the unity (1.000). Similar thing has been found on Tl+-bearing species. This is an impossible and unexplained situation if only based on classical mass-dependent isotope fractionation theory (e.g., Bigeleisen-Mayer equation). The consequence is that the different direction of beta values of Pb2+-bearing species will let the Pb isotope fractionation even larger when they fractionate with Pb4+-bearing species. Moreover, NVEs also cause mass-independent fractionation (MIF) of odd 207Pb isotopes (∆207NVPb).