The mineral barite (BaSO4) accommodates calcium in its crystal lattice, providing an archive of Ca-isotopes in the highly stable sulfate mineral. Holocene marine (pelagic) barite samples from the major ocean basins are isotopically indistinguishable from each other (??44/40Ca = -2.01 ?? 0.15???) but are different from hydrothermal and cold seep barite samples (??44/40Ca = -4.13 to -2.72???). Laboratory precipitated (synthetic) barite samples are more depleted in the heavy Ca-isotopes than pelagic marine barite and span a range of Ca-isotope compositions, ??44/40Ca = -3.42 to -2.40???. Temperature, saturation state, a Ba2 + / a SO42 -, and aCa2+/aBa2+ each influence the fractionation of Ca-isotopes in synthetic barite; however, the fractionation in marine barite samples is not strongly related to any measured environmental parameter. First-principles lattice dynamical modeling predicts that at equilibrium Ca-substituted barite will have much lower 44Ca/40Ca than calcite, by -9??? at 0 ??C and -8??? at 25 ??C. Based on this model, none of the measured barite samples appear to be in isotopic equilibrium with their parent solutions, although as predicted they do record lower ??44/40Ca values than seawater and calcite. Kinetic fractionation processes therefore most likely control the extent of isotopic fractionation exhibited in barite. Potential fractionation mechanisms include factors influencing Ca2+ substitution for Ba2+ in barite (e.g. ionic strength and trace element concentration of the solution, competing complexation reactions, precipitation or growth rate, temperature, pressure, and saturation state) as well as nucleation and crystal growth rates. These factors should be considered when investigating controls on isotopic fractionation of Ca2+ and other elements in inorganic and biogenic minerals. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.
Additional publication details
Characterization of calcium isotopes in natural and synthetic barite