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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 1999 Jul;13(13):1211-1217.

High precision delta(17)O isotope measurements of oxygen from silicates and other oxides: method and applications.

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Planetary Sciences Research Institute, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK.


The use of infrared laser-assisted fluorination to release oxygen from milligram quantities of silicates or other oxide mineral grains is a well-established technique. However, relatively few studies have reported the optimisation of this procedure for oxygen-17 isotope measurements. We describe here details of an analytical system using infrared (10 ┬Ám) laser-assisted fluorination, in conjunction with a dual inlet mass spectrometer of high resolving power ( approximately 250) to provide (17)O and (18)O oxygen isotope measurements from 0.5-2 mg of silicates or other oxide mineral grains. Respective precisions (1) of typically 0.08 and 0.04 per thousand are obtained for the complete analytical procedure. Departures from the mass-dependent oxygen isotope fractionation line are quantified by Delta(17)O; our precision (1) of such measurements on individual samples is shown to be +/-0.024 per thousand. In turn, this permits the offset between parallel, mass-dependent fractionation lines to be characterised to substantially greater precision than has been possible hitherto. Application of this system to investigate the (17)O versus (18)O relationship for numerous terrestrial whole-rock and mineral samples, of diverse geological origins and age, indicates that the complete data set may be described by a single, mass-dependent fractionation line of slope 0.5244+/- 0.00038 (standard error).

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