Nickel isotope abundances of type I deep-sea spheres and of iron-nickel spherules from sediments in Alberta, Canada

S. Xue, G. F. Herzog, G. S. Hall, D. Bi, D. E. Brownlee

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Nickel isotope abundances were measured by ICP-MS in twenty-one whole, type I deep-sea spheres, in Ni-rich cores and oxide shells separated from three others, and in Fe-Ni alloy spherules from Alberta, Canada. The nickel isotopes in the whole deep-sea spheres are mass fractionated from 0.4 to 2.4%/ AMU. These: values correspond to open system vaporization losses of Ni as high as 94% (relative). The degree of mass fractionation correlates well with bulk nickel content in most cases. Taken together with published iron isotope data, the nickel isotope results indicate a pre-loss Fe Ni ratio of about 12 for many spheres. Similar ratios are observed in the following types of meteoritic material: EL-chondrite metal; IA, IIE, IIIA, and IVA iron meteorites; and metal from pallasites and mesosiderites. Metal cores separated from three deep-sea spheres contain between 40 and 52% Ni, with mass fractionations ranging from undetectable to a high of 0.8%/AMU. Within experimental error, the degree of Ni mass fractionation in each oxide shell was the same as that in the corresponding core. No mass-dependent isotopic fractionation of nickel was observed in Ni-rich spherules recovered from Alberta sands of Pleistocene age. In general, Ni-rich samples have low degrees of isotopic fractionation which suggests that the most rapid vaporization of Ni occurs when both Fe and Ni have been oxidized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4975-4981
Number of pages7
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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