In situ boron isotope analysis in marine carbonates and its application for foraminifera and palaeo-pH

The boron isotope composition of marine carbonates such as foraminiferal tests and coral skeletons is increasingly being used to reconstruct seawater pH values and atmospheric pCO2 concentrations spanning hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. However, inter specific and small scale (microns) intra specific isotopic variation, either due to life processes of an organism or patchy recrystallisation and dissolution in fossilised material, can limit the use of the boron isotope ratio as palaeo-pH recorder. One approach to address this problem is the combined use of in situ and high spatial resolution mass spectrometry and high precision bulk analytical techniques. While much effort has been invested to establish reference material for silicates little attention has been devoted towards characterizing and using carbonate material allowing direct isotopic comparisons between B isotope data produced on carbonates by different techniques and laboratories. Hence, here we present data on the boron isotope composition of carbonate material determined by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS), thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS), and secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS). The new reference material permits
the B isotope analysis of single foraminiferal chambers using SIMS and to empirically relate between seawater pH, the B isotope composition of O. universa and the predicted foraminiferal vital effect.

Kasemann S. A., Schmidt D. N., Bijma J. & Foster G. L., in press. In situ boron isotope analysis in marine carbonates and its application for foraminifera and palaeo-pH. Chemical Geology. Article (subscription required).

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