Boron isotopes as pH proxy: a new look at boron speciation in deep-sea corals using 11B MAS NMR and EELS

Dissolved boron in modern seawater occurs in the form of two species, trigonal boric acid B(OH)3 and tetrahedral borate ion B(OH)4. One of the key assumption in the use of boron isotopic compositions of carbonates as pH proxy is that only borate ions, B(OH)4, are incorporated into the carbonate. Here we investigate the speciation of boron in deep-sea coral microstuctures (Lophelia pertusa specimen) by using high field magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (11B MAS NMR) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). We observe both boron coordination species, but in different proportions depending on the coral microstructure, i.e. centres of calcification versus fibres. These results suggest that careful sampling is necessary before performing boron isotopic measurements in deep-sea corals. By combining the proportions of B(OH)3 and B(OH)4 determined by NMR and our previous ion microprobe boron isotope measurements, we propose a new equation for the relation between seawater pH and boron isotopic composition in deep-sea corals.

Rollion-Bard C., Blamart D., Trebosc J., Tricot G., Mussi A. & Cuif J.-P., in press. Boron isotopes as pH proxy: a new look at boron speciation in deep-sea corals using 11B MAS NMR and EELS. Geochimica et Cosmochimica ActaArticle (subscription required).

 


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