Neodymium isotope analyses after combined extraction of actinide and lanthanide elements from seawater and deep‐sea coral aragonite

Torben Struve, Tina Van De Flierdt, Laura F. Robinson, Louisa I. Bradtmiller, Sophia K. Hines, Jess F. Adkins, Myriam Lambelet, Kirsty Crocket, Katharina Kreissig, Barry Coles, Maureen Auro

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Isotopes of the actinide elements protactinium (Pa), thorium (Th), and uranium (U), and the lanthanide element neodymium (Nd) are often used as complementary tracers of modern and past oceanic processes. The extraction of such elements from low abundance matrices, such as seawater and carbonate, is however labor-intensive and requires significant amounts of sample material. We here present a combined method for the extraction of Pa, Th, and Nd from 5 to 10 L seawater samples, and of U, Th, and Nd from <1 g carbonate samples. Neodymium is collected in the respective wash fractions of Pa-Th and U-Th anion exchange chromatographies. Regardless of the original sample matrix, Nd is extracted during a two-stage ion chromatography, followed by thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) analysis as NdO+. Using this combined procedure, we obtained results for Nd isotopic compositions on two GEOTRACES consensus samples from Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS), which are within error identical to results for separately sampled and processed dedicated Nd samples (εNd = −9.20 ± 0.21 and −13.11 ± 0.21 for 15 and 2000 m water depths, respectively; intercalibration results from 14 laboratories: εNd = −9.19 ± 0.57 and −13.14 ± 0.57). Furthermore, Nd isotope results for an in-house coral reference material are identical within analytical uncertainty for dedicated Nd chemistry and after collection of Nd from U-Th anion exchange chromatography. Our procedure does not require major adaptations to independently used ion exchange chromatographies for U-Pa-Th and Nd, and can hence be readily implemented for a wide range of applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1002/2015GC006130
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages8
JournalGeochemistry Geophysics Geosystems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2016


  • deep-sea corals
  • seawater
  • extraction methods
  • neodymium isotopes


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