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Fractionation behavior of chromium isotopes during coprecipitation with calcium carbonate: Implications for their use as paleoclimatic proxy



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Rodler, A. and Sánchez Pastor, Nuria and Fernández Díaz, L. and Frei, R. (2015) Fractionation behavior of chromium isotopes during coprecipitation with calcium carbonate: Implications for their use as paleoclimatic proxy. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 164 . pp. 221-235. ISSN 0016-7037

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/geochimica-et-cosmochimica-acta/vol/164


Interest in chromium (Cr) isotope incorporation into carbonates arises from the observation that Cr isotopic composition of carbonates could be used as a paleoclimate proxy to elucidate past fluctuations of oxygen contents in atmosphere and hydrosphere. The use of Cr isotopes to track paleoenvironmental changes, for example related to the rise of oxygen during the Archaean and Protoerozoic, needs careful assessment of the signal robustness and necessitates a thorough understanding of the Cr cycle in Earth system processes. We conducted experiments testing the incorporation of chromate into the calcite lattice to investigate isotopic changes facilitated by the coprecipitation process. Our experiments indicate enrichment in Cr concentration in the precipitates compared to the solutions, consistent with previous reports of Cr enrichment in chemical sediments compared to ambient seawater. The fractionation of Cr isotopes during calcium carbonate coprecipitation was assumed to be small, based on previously published data of modern seawater and modern non-skeletal marine carbonates. However, results from this study for rapidly precipitated calcium carbonate in the presence of chromate show a tendency for preferential incorporation of heavy Cr isotopes in the precipitates resulting in increasing relative isotope difference between precipitate and initial solution (Δ53Cr[p-is]) from +0.06‰ to +0.18‰, with increasing initial Cr concentration of the solution. Sample precipitation in the presence of chromate also showed the presence of vaterite. Calcium carbonate crystals were also precipitated in a double diffusion silica hydrogel over a longer period of time resulting in samples consisting of micrometric–millimetric calcite crystals, which were again significantly enriched in heavy Cr isotopes compared to the initial solutions. They average, irrespective of the initial Cr concentration, a relative isotope difference (Δ53Cr[p-is]) of +0.29 ± 0.08‰ (2σ), whereas silica hydrogel samples show a preferential retention of light Cr isotopes. These results imply that in previous studies the δ53Cr seawater signals inferred from carbonates may be too positive or, at lower Cr concentrations typical for seawater, marginal to no Cr isotope fractionation can be expected; this might have implications for the use of Cr isotopic signals recorded in ancient marine carbonates in relation to ambient seawater and pave the way for future work to enable a reliable application of the Cr isotope proxy.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geochemistry
Sciences > Geology > Mineralogy
ID Code:62916
Deposited On:30 Oct 2020 18:21
Last Modified:03 Nov 2020 07:54

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