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Stable Isotopes inciples of stable isotope fractionati Annual layers in a tropical ice cap

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Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation. Annual layers in a tropical ice cap. Stable isotopes. Many elements of low atomic weight have two or more stable isotopes, e.g.: Hydrogen - H, D, TCarbon - 12 C, 13 C Nitrogen - 14 N, 15 NOxygen - 16 O, 17 O, 18 O - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Stable IsotopesPrinciples of stable isotope fractionation

Annual layers in a tropical ice cap

Page 2: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Stable isotopes• Many elements of low atomic weight have two or more

stable isotopes, e.g.:

Hydrogen - H, D, T Carbon - 12C, 13C

Nitrogen - 14N, 15N Oxygen - 16O, 17O, 18O

Sulfur - 32S, 33S, 34S, 35S

• The different masses cause isotopes to behave differently in physical and chemical processes. For example, 2H2

18O is much heavier than 1H2

16O and will be left behind during evaporation.

Page 3: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Stable Isotope geochemistry is concerned with variations of the isotopic compositionsof elements arising from physicochemical processes (vs. nuclear processes).

Characteristics of a useful stable isotope system:1. large relative mass difference between stable isotopes (m/m)2. abundance of “rare” isotope is high (0.1-1%)3. element forms variety of compounds in natural system

Examples: 2H/1H, 7Li/6Li, 11B/10B, 13C/12C, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 26Mg/24Mg, 30Si/28Si, 34S/32S, 37Cl/36Cl, 40Ar/36Ar, 44Ca/40Ca, 56Fe/54Fe

- note convention of putting the heavy isotope above the light isotope

Fractionation refers to the change in an isotope ratio that arises as a result of achemical or physical process.

Occurs during:- isotopic exchange reactions in which the isotopes are redistributed among different molecules containing that element- unidirectional or incomplete reactions - physical processes like evaporation/condensation, melting/crystallization, adsorption/desorption, diffusion

Stable isotopes

Page 4: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Isotope fractionation• The degree of fractionation depends on the relative

weights of the isotopes.

– Commonly fractionated: H, C, N, O, S

– Somewhat fractionated: Si, Fe, Cl

– Fractionation impossible (monoisotopic): Be, F, Na, Al, P

• Isotope fractionation during chemical processes is caused by exchange reactions of the type:

1/2C16O2 + H218O 1/2C18O2 + H2

16O

Page 5: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

At equilibrium, we have for the preceding reaction:

We use molar concentrations and not activities because the

activity coefficients cancel out.

If CO2 and H2O did not discriminate between 16O and 18O, then K would be equal to unity (K = 1.00).

However, at 25°C, K = 1.0412, which implies that CO2 slightly prefers 18O and H2O prefers 16O. This preference is small, but is large enough to cause isotopic fractionation.

[ ] [ ][ ] [ ]OHOC

OHOC18

2216

1622

18

21

21

=K

Page 6: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Why is K ≠ 1.0?

Because 18O forms a stronger covalent bond with C than does 16O.

The vibrational energy of a molecule is given by the equations:

HO

H

νhE lvibrationa 21=

m

k

πν

21

=

Thus, the frequency of vibration depends on the mass of the atoms, so the energy of a molecule depends on its mass.

h (Plank’s constant) = 6.63 x 10-34 Jsk (Boltzmann’s constant) = 1.38 x 10-23 J/Km = mass

Page 7: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

• The heavy isotope forms a lower energy bond; it does not vibrate as violently. Therefore, it forms a stronger bond in the compound.

• The Rule of Bigeleisen (1965) - The heavy isotope goes preferentially into the compound with the strongest bonds.

Page 8: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Fractionation during physical processes

• Mass differences also give rise to fractionation during physical processes (diffusion, evaporation, freezing, etc.).

• Fractionation during physical process is a result of differences in the velocities of isotopic molecules of the same compound.

• Consider molecules in a gas. All molecules have the same average kinetic energy, which is a function of temperature.

22

1 mvEkinetic =

Page 9: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Because the kinetic energy for heavy and light isotopes is the same, we can write:

In the case of 12C16O and 13C16O we have:

Regardless of the temperature, the velocity of 12C16O is 1.0177 times that of 13C16O, so the lighter molecule will diffuse faster and evaporate faster.

L

H

H

L

m

m

v

v=

0177.1994915.27

99827.28==

H

L

vv

Page 10: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

• Regarding kinetics, lighter isotopes form weaker bonds in compounds, so they are more easily broken and hence react faster. Thus, in reactions governed by kinetics, the light isotopes are concentrated in the products.

• At high temperatures, the equilibrium constant for isotopic exchange tends towards unity, i.e., at T , K 1, because small differences in mass are less important when all molecules have very high kinetic and vibrational energies.

So at colder temperatures, isotopes will be more heavily fractionated.

Page 11: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

The isotope fractionation factor

The isotope fractionation factor is defined as:

where RA, RB are the isotope ratios in two phases (e.g., carbonate and water, or water vapor and water)

For example, consider: H2O(l) H2O(v) at 25°C

b

aab R

R=α

( )( ) 0092.1)(

1618

1618

===v

l

v

llv OO

OO

R

ROα

The differences in isotope ratios are relatively small and are expressed as parts per thousand (per mil) deviations from a standard.

Page 12: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

If > 0, this means that the sample is enriched in the heavy isotope relative to a standard.

If < 0, this means that the sample is depleted in the heavy isotope relative to a standard.

The relationship between α and is:

The fractionation factor is a function of temperature:

where A and B are constants.

3

3

10

10

++

=b

aab

α

BT

Aab +

×= 2

610ln1000 α

Page 13: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Experimentally determined equilibrium oxygen isotope fractionation factors as a function of temperature.

αvaries inversely with T

Page 14: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Experimentally determined equilibrium carbon isotope fractionation factors as a function of temperature.

αvaries inversely with T

Page 15: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

A useful approximationNatural logarithms of small numbers like 1.00X have

the property that

1000 ln 1.00X X

as long as X 9.

This approximation holds for αba for C, N, O and S

isotopes in many systems. This leads to the following:

so

( ) abba

ab

ab Δ=−≈≈− δδαα ln10110 33

BT

Aab

ab +

×≈≈ 2

63 10ln10 α

Page 16: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

We define a measurement reporting convention ( or “delta” units):

Each isotopic measurement is reported relative to a standard

Note that ‘deltas’ are named after the heavy isotope

( ) ( )( )

31618

16181618318 1010 ×

−=×⎟⎟

⎞⎜⎜⎝

⎛ −=

standard

standardsample

standard

standardsample

OO

OOOO

R

RROδ

( ) ( )( )

31213

1213121313 10×

−=

standard

standardsample

CC

CCCCCδ

( ) ( )( )

310×−

=standard

standardsample

HD

HDHDDδ

Canyon Diablo

meteorite from

Meteor Crater,

Arizona (CDT).

Page 17: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Isotope fractionation in the hydrosphere

Evaporation of surface water in equatorial regions causes formation of air masses with H2O vapor depleted in 18O and D compared to seawater.

This moist air is forced into more northerly, cooler air in the northern hemisphere, where water condenses, and this condensate is enriched in 18O and D compared to the remaining vapor.

The relationship between the isotopic composition of liquid and vapor is:

( ) 331818 1010 −+= vlvl OO δαδ

Page 18: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Assuming that 18Ov = -13.1‰ and αvl(O) = 1.0092 at 25°C,

then

and assuming Dv = -94.8‰ and αvl(H) = 1.074 at 25°C, then

These equations give the isotopic composition of the first bit of precipitation. As 18O and D are removed from the vapor, the remaining vapor becomes more and more depleted.

Thus, 18O and D values become increasingly negative with increasing geographic latitude (and altitude).

> 0, sample enriched in the heavy isotope

< 0, sample depleted in the heavy isotope

( ) 0003318 0.410101.130092.1 −=−+−=lOδ

( ) 00033 8.2710108.94074.1 −=−+−=lDδ

Page 19: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Map of North America showing contours of the approximate average D values of meteoric surface waters.

Page 20: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Seasonal variations in snow and firn at stake 25 of the South Pole accumulation network Variation of 18O in ice cores

from Byrd Station, Antarctica, and Camp Century, Greenland

Snow and ice stratigraphy

Page 21: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

(a) 18O values of foraminifera in Pacific and Caribbean Sea coresduring the Brunhes epoch. The variations of 18O are attributableto temperature fluctuations of surface water in the oceans during thePleistocene epoch. (b) Generalized paleotemperature curve and time scales (from Emiliani and Shackleton, 1974).

Paleothermometry in the oceans

Page 22: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Increase of 18O in tests of a benthic foraminifer in a corecollected in 2200 m of water in the equitorial Pacific. The increase in 18O of the carbonate indicates a decrease in the temperature of bottom water at this site 16 Ma and wasassociated with the growth of continental ice sheets in Antarctica.

Paleothermometry in the oceans

Page 23: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Because both H and O occur together in water, 18O and D are highly correlated, yielding the meteoric water line:

D 818O + 10

High

Latitu

de

L

owHeaviest precipitation

Evaporation(slope ~5)

Closedbasins

Page 24: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Rayleigh distillationIsotopic fractionation that occurs during condensation

in a moist air mass can be described by Rayleigh distillation. The equation governing this process is:

where Rv = isotope ratio of remaining vapor, Rv° = isotope ratio in initial vapor, ƒ = the fraction of vapor remaining and

1−= αfRR ovv

v

l

R

R=α

Page 25: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Effect of Rayleigh distillation on the 18O value of water vapor remaining in the air mass and of meteoric precipitation falling from it at a constant temperature of 25°C.

Complications:1) Re-evaporation2) Temperature dependency of α

18O increasinglynegative with continuedprecipitation

Page 26: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Oxygen isotope fractionation in clays

• Oxygen in igneous and metamorphic rocks is enriched in 18O relative to SMOW.

• When these minerals react with acidic meteoric waters during weathering to form clays, the amount of isotopic fractionation depends on:– The isotope composition of the meteoric water.– The isotope composition of the original minerals.– The water/rock ratio.– Temperature.– The fractionation factors.

Page 27: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

• To form clays, high water/rock ratios are required, so the O-isotope composition will be dictated by that of meteoric water; the composition of the rock will have little influence.

• Similar remarks apply for H-isotopes, except that igneous and metamorphic rocks are depleted in D relative to SMOW.

• We find that the following equations relate D and 18O:

D = 7.3 18O - 260 (montmorillonite)

D = 7.5 18O - 220 (kaolinite)• Once clays are formed, they do not re-equilibrate unless

heated to T > 100°C (H) or T > 300°C (O).

Page 28: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Schematic representation of the isotope composition of H and O in clay minerals formed from meteoric water.

PrimarymagmaticH2O

MetamorphicH2O (300-600°C)

Modern soils

warm

cool

Page 29: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation
Page 30: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Oxygen isotope geothermometry

• The fractionation of oxygen isotopes among coexisting minerals can be used as a geothermometer.

• It must be assumed that the minerals crystallized at the same time at equilibrium, and were not subsequently altered afterwards.

• If the fractionation of oxygen isotopes between several mineral pairs yield the same temperatures, then we have more confidence in the temperature estimate.

Page 31: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

An exampleConsider a hydrothermal vein in which quartz, calcite and

chlorite were deposited together. The minerals were analyzed for their O-isotopes which resulted in:

18Oquartz = 5.1 ‰; 18Ocalcite = 3.8 ‰; 18Ochlorite = -1.5 ‰. Assuming these three minerals were all in equilibrium

with one another, calculate the temperature of formation.First, we need the fractionation factors for these minerals:

wqtzqtzw

qtzw OO

T1818

2

63 40.3

1038.3ln10 α −=≈−

×=

wccccw

ccw OO

T1818

2

63 89.2

1078.2ln10 α −=≈−

×=

wchlchlw

chlw OO

T1818

2

63 70.4

1056.1ln10 α −=≈−

×=

Page 32: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

ccqtz

ccw

qtzw

qtzcc

OOT

TT

181800

02

6

2

6

2

6

3.18.31.551.0106.0

89.21078.2

40.31038.3

−==−=−×

=

−−×

=−=

C6.302K75.575 o==T

chlqtz

chlw

qtzw

qtzchl

OOT

TT

181800

02

6

2

6

2

6

6.6)5.1(1.530.11082.1

7.41056.1

40.31038.3

−==−−=+×

=

−−×

=−=

C9.312K0.586 o==T

Page 33: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

chlcc

chlw

ccw

ccchl

OOT

TT

181800

02

6

2

6

2

6

3.5)5.1(8.381.11022.1

7.41056.1

89.21078.2

−==−−=+×

=

−−×

=−=

C1.318K2.591 o==T

The average of these three values is 311±8°C. Within experimental error, these values are identical, lending confidence that the minerals were deposited at the same time, in equilibrium, at the same temperature.

Page 34: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

BT

Aab

ab +

×≈≈ 2

63 10ln10 α

Oxygen fractionation in rock-forming minerals

Page 35: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Variation of 18O with temperature, where 18O is the differencebetween 18O values of two coexisting minerals that have equilibrated oxygen with the same isotope reservoir at the sametemperature.

Oxygen fractionationin rock-forming minerals

Page 36: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Range of 18O vlues of igneous rocks and stony meteorites

Page 37: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Sulfur isotopesThe stable sulfur isotopes are: 32S, 33S, 34S, 35S, but

the fractionation between 32S and 34S is the most studied.

The most important cause of S-isotope fractionation is the metabolism of the bacteria Desulfovibrio and Desulfatomaculum. These bacteria flourish in anoxic environments by oxidizing organic matter using oxygen from SO4

2-. The SO42- is reduced to

H2S, which is enriched in 32S relative to sulfate.

( ) ( )( )

33234

3234323434 10×

−=

standard

standardsample

SS

SSSSSδ

Page 38: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Sulfate reduction

• The reaction can be written:

CH4 + SO42- + 2H+ H2S(g) + CO2(g) + 2H2O(l)

• For this reaction at 25°C, Gr° = -26.324 kcal mol-

1 or log K = 19.3, so the reaction is highly favored thermodynamically, but is slow in the absence of bacteria.

• The reaction is not at equilibrium and a large kinetic isotope fractionation factor between sulfate and sulfide occurs when bacteria are involved.

Page 39: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Sulfide/sulfate fractionation

The extent of fractionation of S-isotopes between sulfate and sulfide depends on:

1) The rate of metabolism by bacteria.

2) Composition and abundance of food supply.

3) Size of sulfate reservoir.

4) Temperature.

5) The rate of removal of H2S.

Page 40: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Alternative scenarios

• Closed system - the concentration of H2S may build up until it poisons the bacteria, e.g., in the Black Sea. The H2S is then strongly depleted in 34S.

• Open system - the sulfate reservoir is virtually infinite, and H2S is removed. Metabolized sulfide is depleted in 34S, but the isotope composition of sulfate remains constant.

• Open system, sulfate-limited - H2S is free to escape. Rayleigh distillation occurs. The remaining sulfate and each new batch of H2S become enriched in 34S.

Page 41: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Distribution patterns for 34S values of H2S and sulfide minerals when sulfate of 34S = 20‰ is reduced by various mechanisms.

Seawater

Page 42: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

S isotopes as tracers

Metabolic H2S may react with metals and form sulfides. These generally have 34S < 0, but this may vary stratigraphically (and may even be > 0) depending on the extent of Rayleigh distillation.

Thus, sedimentary and igneous sulfides tend to exhibit different trends in their 34S values.

Sedimentary sulfides - 34S exhibits a wide range, generally towards negative values.

Igneous sulfides - 34S values close to 0 ‰.

Page 43: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Sulfur isotope variation in nature

Page 44: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Caveats!We need to be careful in using S-isotopes as tracers

because:1) 34S of some sedimentary sulfides can be near zero or

positive.2) 34S of some magmatic sulfides could be negative if

the S originally came from sedimentary rocks that were melted.

3) 34S values of igneous rocks can vary from zero depending on pH and partial pressure of oxygen.

4) 34S of sulfides in igneous and metamorphic rocks can be changed by isotope exchange during alteration.

Page 45: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Variation of isotope composition of S and Sr in Phanerozoic time. Note that both 34S and the 87Sr/86Sr ratio declined irregularly during the Paleozoic Era from the Cambrian to the Permian periods. During the Mesozoic, both parameters had low values but began to rise during the Cretaceous and continued to rise in the Tertiary. The observed variations in isotopic compositions of S and Sr in the oceans were caused by global changes in the geochemical cycles of these elements.

Page 46: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

S-isotope geothermometryWe can use sulfur isotopic fractionation in sulfide and

sulfate minerals as a geothermometer if all minerals precipitated at the same time in equilibrium with one another.

For example, consider the fractionation between galena and sphalerite:

Suppose we determine that:

Then we calculate:

2

53434 102.7

ln1000T

SS spgngnsp

spgn

×=≈−= α

ooosp

gn 0.4=

C151K4240.4

102.7 o

25

==⎟⎟⎠

⎞⎜⎜⎝

⎛ ×=T

Page 47: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Experimentally determined equilibrium sulfur isotope fractionation factors as a function of temperature.

Page 48: Stable Isotopes Principles of stable isotope fractionation

Carbon isotopes as tracers: The carbon isotopic variation in nature.