Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Research article
06 Jul 2011
Research article |  | 06 Jul 2011

Boron isotope fractionation during brucite deposition from artificial seawater

J. Xiao, Y. K. Xiao, C. Q. Liu, and Z. D. Jin

Abstract. Experiments involving boron incorporation into brucite (Mg(OH)2) from magnesium-free artificial seawater with pH values ranging from 9.5 to 13.0 were carried out to better understand the incorporation behavior of boron into brucite and the influence of it on Mg/Ca-SST proxy and δ11B-pH proxy. The results show that both the concentration of boron in deposited brucite ([B]d) and its boron partition coefficient (Kd) between deposited brucite and final seawater are controlled by the pH of the solution. The incorporation capacity of boron into brucite is almost the same as that into corals, but much stronger than that into oxides and clay minerals. The isotopic compositions of boron in deposited brucite (δ11Bd) are higher than those in the associated artificial seawater (δ11Bisw) with fractionation factors ranging between 1.0177 and 1.0569, resulting from the preferential incorporation of B(OH)3 into brucite. Both boron adsorptions onto brucite and the precipitation reaction of H3BO3 with brucite exist during deposition of brucite from artificial seawater. The simultaneous occurrence of both processes determines the boron concentration and isotopic fractionation of brucite. The isotopic fractionation behaviors and mechanisms of boron incorporated into brucite are different from those into corals. The existence of brucite in corals can affect the δ11B and Mg/Ca in corals and influences the Mg/Ca-SST proxy and δ11B-pH proxy negatively. The relationship between δ11B and Mg/Ca in corals can be used to judge the existence of brucite in corals, which should provide a reliable method for better use of δ11B and Mg/Ca in corals to reconstruct paleo-marine environment.