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Sulfate and sulfide sulfur isotopes (δ34S and δ33S) measured by solution and laser ablation MC-ICP-MS: An enhanced approach using external correction

September 21, 2015

Isotope ratio measurements using a multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) commonly use standard-sample bracketing with a single isotope standard for mass bias correction for elements with narrow-range isotope systems measured by MC-ICP-MS, e.g. Cu, Fe, Zn, and Hg. However, sulfur (S) isotopic composition (δ34S) in nature can range from at least − 40 to + 40‰, potentially exceeding the ability of standard-sample bracketing using a single sulfur isotope standard to accurately correct for mass bias. Isotopic fractionation via solution and laser ablation introduction was determined during sulfate sulfur (Ssulfate) isotope measurements. An external isotope calibration curve was constructed using in-house and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Ssulfate isotope reference materials (RM) in an attempt to correct for the difference. The ability of external isotope correction for Ssulfate isotope measurements was evaluated by analyzing NIST and United States Geological Survey (USGS) Ssulfate isotope reference materials as unknowns. Differences in δ34Ssulfate between standard-sample bracketing and standard-sample bracketing with external isotope correction for sulfate samples ranged from 0.72‰ to 2.35‰ over a δ34S range of 1.40‰ to 21.17‰. No isotopic differences were observed when analyzing Ssulfide reference materials over a δ34Ssulfide range of − 32.1‰ to 17.3‰ and a δ33S range of − 16.5‰ to 8.9‰ via laser ablation (LA)-MC-ICP-MS. Here, we identify a possible plasma induced fractionation for Ssulfate and describe a new method using external isotope calibration corrections using solution and LA-MC-ICP-MS.