Sub-permil interlaboratory consistency for solution-based boron isotope analyses on marine carbonates

Marcus Gutjahr*, Louise Bordier, Eric Douville, Jesse Farmer, Gavin L. Foster, Ed C. Hathorne, Bärbel Hönisch, Damien Lemarchand, Pascale Louvat, Malcolm McCulloch, Johanna Noireaux, Nicola Pallavicini, James W.B. Rae, Ilia Rodushkin, Philippe Roux, Joseph A. Stewart, François Thil, Chen-Feng You

*Corresponding author for this work

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Boron isotopes in marine carbonates are increasingly used to reconstruct seawater pH and atmospheric pCO2 through Earth’s history. While isotope ratio measurements from individual laboratories are often of high quality, it is important that records generated in different laboratories can equally be compared. Within this Boron Isotope Intercomparison Project (BIIP), we characterised the boron isotopic composition (commonly expressed in δ11B) of two marine carbonates: Geological Survey of Japan carbonate reference materials JCp‐1 (coral Porites) and JCt‐1 (giant clam Tridacna gigas). Our study has three foci: (a) to assess the extent to which oxidative pre‐treatment, aimed at removing organic material from carbonate, can influence the resulting δ11B; (b) to determine to what degree the chosen analytical approach may affect the resultant δ11B; and (c) to provide well‐constrained consensus δ11B values for JCp‐1 and JCt‐1. The resultant robust mean and associated robust standard deviation (s*) for un‐oxidised JCp‐1 is 24.36 ± 0.45‰ (2s*), compared with 24.25 ± 0.22‰ (2s*) for the same oxidised material. For un‐oxidised JCt‐1, respective compositions are 16.39 ± 0.60‰ (2s*; un‐oxidised) and 16.24 ± 0.38‰ (2s*; oxidised). The consistency between laboratories is generally better if carbonate powders were oxidatively cleaned prior to purification and measurement.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalGeostandards and Geoanalytical Research
VolumeEarly View
Early online date11 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2020


  • Mass spectrometry
  • Geological Survey of Japan
  • Boron isotopes
  • Carbonate reference materials
  • Interlaboratory experiment


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