Submicron Measurements of Mg Isotopes in Biogenic Carbonates Using Laser Ablation-MC-ICPMS: New Window into Biomineralisation

Friday, 19 December 2014
Aleksey Sadekov1, Nicholas S Lloyd2, Sambuddha Misra1, Antje Funcke3, Stephen Shuttleworth4, Gerald Langer5, Jelle Bijma6 and Henry Elderfield1, (1)University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, (2)Thermo Fisher Scientific, Bremen, Germany, (3)Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven, Germany, (4)Photon Machines, Bozeman, United States, (5)University of Cambridge, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge, United Kingdom, (6)Alfred-Wegener Inst, Bremenhaven, Germany
Magnesium is one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust and in seawater. Fractionation of its stable isotopes has been shown to be useful indicators of many geological, chemical and biological processes. For example, biogenic carbonates display ~5‰ range of d26Mg values, which is attributed to variable degree of biological control on Mg ions during biomineralisation. Understanding this biological control is essential for developing proxies based on biogenic carbonates. Current methods of magnesium isotope measurements in carbonates are often time consuming and require relatively large volumes of samples. In this work, we present a new approach of measuring Mg isotopes in biogenic carbonates using Laser Ablation MC-ICP-MS. We will show that this microanalytical approach provides accurate and relatively fast measurements of Mg isotopes in biological carbonate with precision down to 0.2‰ (1sd). We will also present examples on how this new method can provide additional information about foraminiferal biomineralisation. For example, we will demonstrate submicron variation in Mg isotopes across shells of Orbulina universa, which are linked to high and low Mg/Ca layers in this species. We will also report changes in Mg isotope composition of benthic foraminifera Amphistegina sp. cultured in seawater with different Mg/Ca values. Both examples will be used to draw attention to the complexity and possibilities of multiple mechanisms of Mg incorporation into biogenic carbonates during biomineralisation.