Ni isotope fractionation during coprecipitation of Fe(III)(oxyhydr)oxides in Si solutions

Type Article
Acceptance Date 2020-11 IN PRESS
Language English
Author(s) Neubeck Anna1, Hemmingsson Christoffer2, Boosman Arjen3, Rouxel Olivier4, Bohlin Madeleine1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
2 : Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden
3 : Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
4 : Ifremer, Unit of Marine Geosciences, Brest, France
Source Geochemistry (00092819) (Elsevier BV) In Press
DOI 10.1016/j.chemer.2020.125714
Keyword(s) Stable Ni isotopes, Ferrihydrite precipitation, Co-precipitation experiment, Banded, Iron Formation, Silica

The dramatic decline in aqueous Ni concentrations in the Archean oceans during the Great Oxygenation Event is evident in declining solid phase Ni concentrations in Banded Iron Formations (BIFs) at the time. Several experiments have been performed to identify the main removal mechanisms of Ni from seawater into BIFs, whereby adsorption of Ni onto ferrihydrites has shown to be an efficient process. Ni isotopic measurements have shown limited isotopic fraction during this process, however, most experiments have been conducted in simple solutions containing varying proportions of dissolved Fe and Ni as NO3 salts, as opposed to Cl salts which are dominant in seawater. Further, Archean oceans were, before the advent of siliceous eukaryotes, likely saturated with amorphous Si as seen in the interlayered chert layers within BIFs. Despite Si being shown to greatly affect the Ni elemental partitioning onto ferrihydrite solids, no studies have been made on the effects of Si on the Ni isotope fractionation. Here we report results of multiple coprecipitation experiments where ferrihydrite precipitated in mixed solutions with Ni and Si. Ni concentrations in the experiments ranged between 200 and 4000 nM for fixed concentrations of Si at either 0, 0.67 or 2.2 mM. The results show that Si at these concentrations has a limited effect on the Ni isotope fractionation during coprecipitation of ferrihydrite. At 0.67 mM, the saturation concentration of cristobalite, the isotopic fractionation factors between the precipitating solid and experimental fluid are identical to experiments not containing Si (0.34 ± 0.17‰). At 2.2 mM Si, and the saturation concentration of amorphous silica, however, the Ni isotopic composition of the ferrihydrite solids deviate to more negative values and show a larger variation than at low or no Si, and some samples show fractionation of up to 0.5‰. Despite this seemingly more unstable fractionation behaviour, the combined results indicate that even at as high concentrations of Si as 2.2 mM, the δ60Ni values of the forming ferrihydrites does not change much. The results of our study implicate that Si may not be a major factor in fractionating stable Ni isotopes, which would make it easier to interpret future BIF record and reconstruct Archean ocean chemistry.

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