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In situ measurements of Li isotopes in foraminifera

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  • Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. - 2007, vol. 8, p. Q01003
English In situ measurement of Li isotope ratios in foraminifera has been developed using a Cameca ims 1270 ion microprobe. In situ δ⁷Li analyses have been performed in biogenic calcite of planktonic foraminifera from various locations. Results show that for west Pacific mixed Globigerinoides and Globorotalia (22°S161°E), the isotopic variability between tests and within a single test, respectively, is not significantly greater than estimated analytical uncertainty (∼1.5‰). Mean δ⁷Li for several planktonic foraminifera tests corresponds to the seawater value, strongly suggesting negligible Li isotope fractionation relative to seawater, as previously inferred by Hall et al. (2005) using thermo-ionization mass spectrometer and multicollector-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry techniques. Combined with scanning electron microscopy and ion microprobe imaging, micron-sized grains, enriched in lithium, silica and aluminum have been found in the foraminifera calcite matrix. A simple mixing model shows that 0.3–2 wt % of marine clays incorporated within the analyzed calcite would lower the foraminifera δ⁷Li value, by 3‰ to 10‰ relative to the isotopic composition of the pure calcite. By comparison, no such grains have been detected in corals. The presence of micron-sized silicate grains embedded within the foraminifera calcite is consistent with the Erez (2003) biomineralization model, involving calcite precipitation from seawater vacuoles. By contrast, coral calcium carbonate is instead precipitated from ions, which have been pumped or diffused through several membranes, impermeable to micrometric grains. Ion microprobe in situ δ⁷Li measurements in biogenic calcite present new methods for investigating both biomineralization processes and the past record of the ocean composition by exploring geochemical variations at a scale that is smaller in space and in time.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Géosciences
  • English
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