Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Ion microprobe measurement of strontium isotopes in calcium carbonate with application to salmon otoliths

January 1, 2005

The ion microprobe has the capability to generate high resolution, high precision isotopic measurements, but analysis of the isotopic composition of strontium, as measured by the 87Sr/86Sr ratio, has been hindered by isobaric interferences. Here we report the first high precision measurements of 87Sr/86Sr by ion microprobe in calcium carbonate samples with moderate Sr concentrations. We use the high mass resolving power (7000 to 9000 M.R.P.) of the SHRIMP-RG ion microprobe in combination with its high transmission to reduce the number of interfering species while maintaining sufficiently high count rates for precise isotopic measurements. The isobaric interferences are characterized by peak modeling and repeated analyses of standards. We demonstrate that by sample-standard bracketing, 87Sr/86Sr ratios can be measured in inorganic and biogenic carbonates with Sr concentrations between 400 and 1500 ppm with ∼2‰ external precision (2σ) for a single analysis, and subpermil external precision with repeated analyses. Explicit correction for isobaric interferences (peak-stripping) is found to be less accurate and precise than sample-standard bracketing. Spatial resolution is ∼25 μm laterally and 2 μm deep for a single analysis, consuming on the order of 2 ng of material. The method is tested on otoliths from salmon to demonstrate its accuracy and utility. In these growth-banded aragonitic structures, one-week temporal resolution can be achieved. The analytical method should be applicable to other calcium carbonate samples with similar Sr concentrations.

Publication Year 2005
Title Ion microprobe measurement of strontium isotopes in calcium carbonate with application to salmon otoliths
DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2004.05.051
Authors P.K. Weber, C. R. Bacon, I.D. Hutcheon, B. L. Ingram, Joseph L. Wooden
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Index ID 70029058
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center