GEOTRACES intercalibration of neodymium isotopes and rare earth element concentrations in seawater and suspended particles. Part 1: reproducibility of results for the international intercomparison

Tina van de Flierdt, Katharina Pahnke, GEOTRACES intercalibration participants: Hiroshi Amakawa, Per

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 10:234-251 (2012) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2012.10.234

ABSTRACT: One of the key activities during the initial phase of the international GEOTRACES program was an extensive international intercalibration effort, to ensure that results for a range of trace elements and isotopes (TEIs) from different cruises and from different laboratories can be compared in a meaningful way. Here we present the results from the intercalibration efforts on neodymium isotopes and rare earth elements in seawater and marine particles. Fifteen different laboratories reported results for dissolved 143Nd/144Nd ratios in seawater at three different locations (BATS 15 m, BATS 2000 m, SAFe 3000 m), with an overall agreement within 47 to 57 ppm (2σ standard deviation of the mean). A similar agreement was found for analyses of an unknown pure Nd standard solution carried out by 13 laboratories (56 ppm), indicating that mass spectrometry is the main variable in achieving accurate and precise Nd isotope ratios. Overall, this result is very satisfactory, as the achieved precision is a factor of 40 better than the range of Nd isotopic compositions observed in the global ocean. Intercalibration for dissolved rare earth element concentrations (REEs) by six laboratories for two water depths at BATS yielded a reproducibility of 15% or better for all REE except Ce, which seems to be the most blank-sensitive REE. Neodymium concentrations from 12 laboratories show an agreement within 9%, reflecting the best currently possible reproducibility. Results for Nd isotopic compositions and REE concentrations on marine particles are inconclusive, and should be revisited in the future.