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Boron isotopic fractionation during adsorption by calcite - Implication for the seawater pH proxy

Abstract : Although adsorption at the solid surface is the first step controlling boron incorporation in the crystal lattice during the standard growth mechanism of calcite and aragonite, little is known about the identity, structure and isotopic composition of the boron complexes formed at the CaCO3-solution interface. To generate this important information, we investigated experimentally the boron chemical and isotopic fractionation during adsorption at the calcite-water interface as a function of pH (6.5-11.7) at 4 and 20 °C in 0.01 and 0.1 M NaCl aqueous solutions. The surface complexation modeling of B adsorption and isotopic composition data showed that boron is sorbed at the calcite surface as a tetrahedral complex (>CaB(OH)40) formed by reaction of borate ions with Ca-protonated surface sites (log Kint0 = 1.54 ± 0.37 at 20 °C) and excluded the formation of trigonal B surface complexes (>CaB(OH)3+). The B isotopic composition of >CaB(OH)40 is ∼5‰ and 2‰ heavier than that of aqueous B(OH)4- in 0.01 and 0.1 M NaCl solution, respectively. Consistently, these values suggest that adsorbed borate ions have isotopic compositions intermediate between those of aqueous borate and structural tetrahedral species in calcite, which have been recently predicted to be ∼12‰ heavier than aqueous borate using quantum mechanical calculations (Balan et al., 2018). The good agreement between the isotopic composition of adsorbed boron measured in this study and boron experimentally co-precipitated with calcite in the 8-9 pH range at close to equilibrium conditions (i.e. via ion-by-ion attachment at advancing steps) (Noireaux et al., 2015) indicate that the isotopic composition of structural boron can be inherited from the boron surface complexes formed at the calcite/water interface. The results of this study contradict the assumption of no isotopic fractionation between tetrahedral boron in calcite and the borate ion that sustains the boron paleo-pH proxy, but confirm that trigonal B cannot be directly incorporated in the crystal structure during near equilibrium growth of calcite.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 25, 2022 - 3:22:24 PM
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Giuseppe D. Saldi, Johanna Noireaux, Pascale Louvat, Laeticia Faure, Etienne Balan, et al.. Boron isotopic fractionation during adsorption by calcite - Implication for the seawater pH proxy. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2018, 240, pp.255-273. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2018.08.025⟩. ⟨insu-03589320⟩



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