TERRAPUB Geochemical Journal

Geochemical Journal, Vol. 46 (No. 2), pp. 131-141, 2012

The molybdenum isotopic composition of the modern ocean

Yusuke Nakagawa,1 Shotaro Takano,1 M. Lutfi Firdaus,2 Kazuhiro Norisuye,1 Takafumi Hirata,3 Derek Vance4 and Yoshiki Sohrin1

1Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan
2Department of Chemistry, FKIP, Bengkulu University, Jl. Raya Kandang Limun, Bengkulu, Indonesia
3Division of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
4Bristol Isotope Group, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Bristol BS8 1RJ, U.K.

(Received September 13, 2011; Accepted January 5, 2012)

Abstract: Natural variations in the isotopic composition of molybdenum (Mo) are showing increasing potential as a tool in geochemistry. Although the ocean is an important reservoir of Mo, data on the isotopic composition of Mo in seawater are scarce. We have recently developed a new method for the precise determination of Mo isotope ratios on the basis of preconcentration using a chelating resin and measurement by multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS), which allows us to measure every stable Mo isotope (Nakagawa et al., 2008). In this study, 172 seawater samples obtained from 9 stations in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans were analyzed, giving global coverage and the first full depth-profiles. The average isotope composition in δA/95Mo (relative to a Johnson Matthey Mo standard solution) was as follows: δ92/95Mo = -2.54 ± 0.16‰ (2SD), δ94/95Mo = -0.73 ± 0.19‰, δ96/95Mo = 0.85 ± 0.07‰, δ97/95Mo = 1.68 ± 0.08‰, δ98/95Mo = 2.48 ± 0.10‰, and δ100/95Mo = 4.07 ± 0.18‰. The δ values showed an excellent linear correlation with atomic mass of AMo (R2 = 0.999). Three-isotope plots for the Mo isotopes were fitted with straight lines whose slopes agreed with theoretical values for mass-dependent isotope fractionation. These results demonstrate that Mo isotopes are both uniformly distributed and follow a mass-dependent fractionation law in the modern oxic ocean. In addition, Mo isotopic analysis revealed that δ98/95Mo of the standard used in this study was 0.117 ± 0.009‰, lighter than the Mo standard that was used by Archer and Vance (2008). A common Mo standard is urgently required for the precise comparison of Mo isotopic compositions measured in different laboratories. On the other hand, our results strongly support the possibility of seawater as an international reference material for Mo isotopic composition.
Key words: Mo isotopes, seawater, mass-dependent fractionation, reference material for Mo isotopic composition

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