The purpose of the technique described by the Reston Stable Isotope Laboratory (RSIL) lab code 489 is to present a method to determine the delta(180/160), abbreviated as delta-180, of water. This delta-18O measurement of water also is a component of National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL in USGS) schedules 1142 and 1172. Water samples are loaded into glass sample containers on a vacuum manifold to equilibrate gaseous CO2 at constant temperature (25 deg C) with water samples. After loading water samples on the vacuum manifold, air is evacuated through capillary to avoid evaporation, and CO2 is added. The samples are shaken to increase the equilibration rate of water and CO2. When isotopic equilibrium has been attained, an aliquot of CO2 is extracted sequentially from each sample container, separated from water vapor by means of a dry ice trap, and introduced into a dual-inlet isotope-ratio mass spectrometer (DI-IRMS) for determination of the delta-18O value. There is oxygen isotopic fractionation between water and CO2, but it is constant at constant temperature. The DI-IRMS is a DuPont double-focusing mass spectrometer. It has a double collector. One ion beam passes through a slit in a forward collector and is collected in the rear collector. The other ion beams are collected in the front collector. The instrument is capable of measuring mass/charge (m/z) 44 and 45 or 44 and 46 by changing the ion-accelerating voltage under computer control. The ion beams from these m/z values are as follows: m/z 44=CO2=12C16O16O, m/z 45=CO2=13C16O16O primarily, and m/z 46 = CO2=12C16O18O primarily. The data acquisition and control software calculates delta-18O values.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Determination of the delta(18O/16O)of Water: RSIL Lab Code 489