Mg isotope fractionation in biogenic carbonates of deep-sea coral, benthic foraminifera, and hermatypic coral

Toshihiro Yoshimura, Masaharu Tanimizu, Mayuri Inoue, Atsushi Suzuki, Nozomu Iwasaki, Hodaka Kawahata

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56 Citations (Scopus)


High-precision Mg isotope measurements by multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry were applied for determinations of magnesium isotopic fractionation of biogenic calcium carbonates from seawater with a rapid Mg purification technique. The mean δ 26Mg values of scleractinian corals, giant clam, benthic foraminifera, and calcite deep-sea corals were -0.87‰, -2.57‰, -2.34‰, and -2.43‰, suggesting preferential precipitation of light Mg isotopes to produce carbonate skeleton in biomineralization. Mg isotope fractionation in deep-sea coral, which has high Mg calcite skeleton, showed a clear temperature (T) dependence from 2.5 °C to 19.5 °C: 1,000 × ln(α) = -2.63 (±0.076) + 0.0138 (±0.0051) × T(R 2 = 0.82, p < 0.01). The δ 26Mg values of large benthic foraminifera, which are also composed of a high-Mg calcite skeleton, can be plotted on the same regression line as that for deep-sea coral. Since the precipitation rates of deep-sea coral and benthic foraminifera are several orders of magnitude different, the results suggest that kinetic isotope fractionation may not be a major controlling factor for high-Mg calcite. The Mg isotope fractionation factors and the slope of temperature dependence from deep-sea corals and benthic foraminifera are similar to that for an inorganically precipitated calcite speleothem. Taking into account element partitioning and the calcification rate of biogenic CaCO 3, the similarity among inorganic minerals, deep-sea corals, and benthic foraminiferas may indicate a strong mineralogical control on Mg isotope fractionation for high-Mg calcite. On the other hand, δ 26Mg in hermatypic corals composed of aragonite has been comparable with previous data on biogenic aragonite of coral, sclerosponges, and scaphopad, regardless of species differences of samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2755-2769
Number of pages15
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomineralization
  • Magnesium
  • Stable isotope
  • Vital effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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