Precise measurement of Fe isotopes in marine samples by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS)

  • de Jong J
  • Schoemann V
  • Tison J
 et al. 
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A novel analytical technique for isotopic analysis of dissolved and particulate iron (Fe) from various marine environments is presented in this paper. It combines coprecipitation of dissolved Fe (DFe) samples with Mg(OH)2, and acid digestion of particulate Fe (PFe) samples with double pass chromatographic separation. Isotopic data were obtained using a Nu Plasma MC-ICP-MS in dry plasma mode, applying a combination of standard-sample bracketing and external normalization by Cu doping. Argon interferences were determined prior to each analysis and automatically subtracted during analysis. Sample size can be varied between 200 and 600 ng of Fe per measurement and total procedural blanks are better than 10 ng of Fe. Typical external precision of replicate analyses (1S.D.) is ±0.07‰ on δ56Fe and ±0.09‰ on δ57Fe while typical internal precision of a measurement (1S.E.) is ±0.03‰ on δ56Fe and ±0.04‰ on δ57Fe. Accuracy and precision were assured by the analysis of reference material IRMM-014, an in-house pure Fe standard, an in-house rock standard, as well as by inter-laboratory comparison using a hematite standard from ETH (Zürich). The lowest amount of Fe (200 ng) at which a reliable isotopic measurement could still be performed corresponds to a DFe or PFe concentration of ∼2 nmol L-1for a 2 L sample size. To show the versatility of the method, results are presented from contrasting environments characterized by a wide range of Fe concentrations as well as varying salt content: the Scheldt estuary, the North Sea, and Antarctic pack ice. The range of DFe and PFe concentrations encountered in this investigation falls between 2 and 2000 nmol L-1Fe. The distinct isotopic compositions detected in these environments cover the whole range reported in previous studies of natural Fe isotopic fractionation in the marine environment, i.e. δ56Fe varies between -3.5‰ and +1.5‰. The largest fractionations were observed in environments characterized by redox changes and/or strong Fe cycling. This demonstrates the potential use of Fe isotopes as a tool to trace marine biogeochemical processes involving Fe. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Antarctica
  • Fe isotopes
  • North Sea
  • Scheldt estuary
  • Sea ice
  • Seawater

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