238U-230Th-226Ra disequilibrium in volcanic rocks provides an important and unique tool to evaluate timescales of recent magmatic processes. Determination of 230Th-226Ra disequilibria requires measurement of U and Th isotopes and concentrations as well as measurement of 226Ra. While measurement of U and Th by ICPMS is now well established, few published studies documenting 226Ra measurement via ICPMS exist. Using 228Ra as an isotope spike we have investigated two ion-counting methods; a 'peak-hopping' routine, where 226Ra and 228Ra are measured in sequence on the central discrete dynode ETP secondary electron multiplier (SEM), and simultaneous measurement of 226Ra and 228Ra on two multiple ion-counter system (MICS) channeltron type detectors mounted on the low end of the collector block. Here we present 226Ra measurement by isotope dilution using the Thermo Fisher NEPTUNE MC-ICPMS. Analysis of external rock standards TML and AThO along with mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) and ocean island basalt (OIB) samples show three issues that need to be considered when making precise and accurate Ra measurements: 1) mass bias, 2) background, and 3) relative efficiencies of the detectors when measuring in MICS mode. Due to the absence of an established 226Ra/228Ra standard, we have used U reference material NBL-112A to monitor mass bias. Although Ball et. al., (in press) have shown that U does not serve as an adequate proxy for Th (and thus not likely for Ra either), measurements of rock standards TML and AThO are repeatedly in equilibrium within the uncertainty of the measurements (where total uncertainty includes propagation of the uncertainty in the 226Ra standard used for calibrating the 228Ra spike). For this application, U is an adequate proxy for Ra mass bias at the 1% uncertainly level. The more important issue is the background correction. Because of the extensive chemistry required to separate and purify Ra (typically fg/g level in volcanic rocks), we observe large ambient backgrounds using both ion-counting techniques, which can significantly influence the measured 226Ra/228Ra ratio. Ra off-peak backgrounds need to be measured explicitly and quantitatively corrected. One advantage of using a 'peak-hopping' routine on the central SEM is the optional use of the high abundance sensitivity lens or repelling potential quadrapole (RPQ). This lens virtually eliminates the ambient background and significantly enhances the signal to noise ratio with only a small decrease in Ra ion transmission. Even with the diminished background levels observed using 'peak-hopping' on the SEM with the RPQ, accurate measurement of Ra isotopes requires off-peak background measurement. Finally, when using MICS it is important to account for the relative efficiency of the detectors. Multiple ion counting is, in principle, preferable to 'peak-hopping' because more time is spent counting each individual isotope. However, our results illustrate that proper calibration of detector yields requires dynamic switching of 226Ra between the two ion counters. This negates the inherent advantage of multiple ion counting. Therefore, when considering mass bias, background correction, and detector gain calibration, we conclude that 'peak-hopping' on the central SEM with the RPQ abundance filter is the preferred technique for 226Ra/228Ra isotopic measurement on the Neptune MC-ICPMS.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 1032 Mid-oceanic ridge processes (3614;
- 1040 Radiogenic isotope geochemistry;
- 1094 Instruments and techniques