A redetermination of the isotopic abundances of atmospheric Ar

Lee, JY, Marti K, Severinghaus JP, Kawamura K, Yoo HS, Lee JB, Kim JS.  2006.  A redetermination of the isotopic abundances of atmospheric Ar. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta. 70:4507-4512.

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abrupt climate-change, air, earths mantle, solar argon


Atmospheric argon measured on a dynamically operated mass spectrometer with an ion source magnet, indicated systematically larger Ar-40/Ar-16 ratios compared to the generally accepted value of Nier [Nier A.O., 1950. A redetermination of the relative abundances of the isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and potassium. Phys. Rev. 77, 789-793], 295.5 +/- 0.5, which has served as the standard for all isotopic measurements in geochemistry and cosmochemistry. Gravimetrically prepared mixtures of highly enriched Ar-36 and Ar-40 were utilized to redetermine the isotopic abundances of atmospheric Ar, using a dynamically operated isotope ratio mass spectrometer with minor modifications and special gas handling techniques to avoid fractionation. A new ratio Ar-40/Ar-36 = 298.56 +/- 0.31 was obtained with a precision of 0.1%, approximately 1% higher than the previously accepted value. Combined with the Ar-38/Ar-36 (0.1885 +/- 0.0003) measured with a VG5400 noble gas mass spectrometer in static operation, the percent abundances of Ar-36, Ar-38, and Ar-40 were determined to be 0.3336 +/- 0.0004, 0.0629 +/- 0.0001, and 99.6035 +/- 0.0004, respectively. We calculate an atomic mass of Ar of 39.9478 +/- 0.0002. Accurate Ar isotopic abundances are relevant in numerous applications, as the calibration of the mass spectrometer discrimination. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.