Boron Isotopes


Dimethyl ether -boron trifluoride complex is employed for the separation of the two stable isotopes of boron. Dimetheyl ether is produced iron metheyl alcohol at the plant. The complies is fed into a series of 6 columns constructed of monel which operate as a single column with an effective height of 350 feet and having the equivalent of 380.

  • Boron has two naturally occurring and stable isotopes, 11B (80.1%) and 10B (19.9%). Boron-10 is composed of 5 protons, 5 neutrons, and 5 electrons. N nuclear industry boron is commonly used as a neutron absorber due to the high neutron cross-section of isotope 10B.
  • Boron-11 The atomic mass of boron is 10.81 u. And 10.81 u is a lot closer to 11u than it is to 10u, so there must be more of boron-11. To convince you fully, we can also do a simple calculation to find the exact proportion of boron-11 using the following formula: ((10 u)(x)+(11 u)(1-x))/(100%)=10.81u Where u is the unit for atomic mass and x is the proportion of boron-10 out of the total boron.

Boron (B) isotopic analysis plays an important role in paleoceanography and hydrological studies. The boron isotopic composition of marine biogenic carbonates is reflective of seawater pH, allowing boron isotopes to be used as a tracer for studying pH variability in oceans. In addition, boron isotopes are valuable in revealing anthropogenic contamination of groundwater. For example, the distinct δ11B signatures of different sources can distinguish if the contamination is a result of industrial or agricultural activities.

Pairing Boron Isotopes with Nitrate Isotopes

Natural denitrification and mixing processes may extensively alter the isotopic values of nitrate contamination (δ15N and δ18O), making it difficult to differentiate between urban and agricultural origins of nitrate in ground and surface waters. By combining boron isotopic ratios with nitrogen isotopic ratios of nitrate, this allows for the differentiation between urban and agricultural nitrate origins.

Read more on Using Boron Isotopes to Enhance Nitrate Source Tracking.

Sample Requirements:

Water – 100 mL: Use any type of small-neck plastic bottle (HDPE, LDPE, PP) to collect your sample. Prior to collection, rinse the bottle with the running sample water. Do not add any chemicals to the water, do not acidify the water. Fill the bottle all the way, but keep the neck of the bottle empty to allow for any necessary expansion during shipment. Place the bottles inside a plastic bag and seal the bag with a zip-tie or duct tape. Clearly label both the bottle and the plastic bag.

Note: Water samples will be screened for B concentration prior to isotope dilution and extraction chromatography processes for purification and measurement. Only samples with a concentration of 10 ppb or greater will be selected for analysis. If a sample is considered not suitable for analysis, the client will only be charged for the screening.

Related Topics

Methodology: Boron Isotope Analysis
Sample Requirements for Boron Isotope Analysis

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DescriptionTable of ContentsList of Volumes

Volume 33: Boron: Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry
Lawrence M. Anovitz and Edward S. Grew, editors

1996, 2002 i-xx + 864 pages. ISBN 0-939950-41-3; ISBN13 978-0-939950-41-6

At the time of the first printing (1996), interest in the element boron was growing rapidly. We felt that it was an opportune moment to ask investigators active in research on boron to review developments in their respective fields so that readers could learn what was-and wasn't-known about boron and its minerals, geochemistry and petrology.

Since 1996, interest in boron has, if anything, increased, and continued demand for the Reviews in Mineralogy 'boron bible' has motivated the Mineralogical Society of America to reprint the volume. Demand is reflected in citations, and according to ISI's Science Citation Index, the number of citations since publication to the volume is about 380, with some individual chapters having been cited as many as 44 times.

In preparation for this printing, authors of 15 of the 19 original chapters have updated, corrected or added to their chapters within the constraints that no pages be added. Most addenda are bibliographies of literature published since 1996; a few also include summaries of significant findings. Addenda for each chapter follow the chapter, except for those for Chapters 1 and 2, which are merged onto pages 115-116 and 385. A table of new B-minerals since 1996 is given on p. 28, and many modifications were made to the table (p. 7-27) of B-minerals known prior to 1996 (corrections to formulae, mineral names, localities, etc.). Similar up-datings of Table 1 (p. 223) in Chapter 5 and numerous tables in Chapter 9 (p. 387) were undertaken, and Figure 15 in Chapter 11 (p. 619), which-embarrassingly-was missing from the first printing, has been supplied. Addenda to Chapter 13 are introduced on p. 744 and completed on p. 863 and 864.

The following salient developments in research related to B are mentioned in the addenda:

  • New minerals. Twenty-two boron minerals have been or are about to be described, and four more have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association, representing an increase of 10%, comparable to the increase in the number of all new minerals described during the same period (Anovitz and Grew, Chapter 1)
  • Tourmaline group. In addition to four new tourmaline species, a new classification has been proposed. Another tourmaline, olenite, has been shown to contain substantial amounts of excess B in tetrahedral coordination, a finding that has revolutionized our view of tourmaline crystal chemistry (Werding and Schreyer, Chapter 3; references in addendum to Henry and Dutrow, Chapter 10).
  • Boron isotopes. New techniques for measuring isotope ratios using secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) with the ion microprobe open up new opportunities for in situ analyses of individual grains and fluid inclusions (Hervig, Chapter 16). Boron isotopes have found applications in paleoceanography and thus add to the tools available for the study of past climates (Palmer and Swihart, Chapter 13).

One of the major questions facing the use of hydrogeochemical models is whether or not they can be used with confidence to predict future evolution of groundwater systems. There is much controversy concerning the validity and uncertainties of non-reactive fluid flow systems. Adding chemical interaction to these flow models only confounds the problem. Although such models may accurately integrate the governing physical and chemical equations, many uncertainties are inherent in characterizing the natural system itself. These systems are inherently heterogeneous on a variety of scales rendering it impossible to know precisely the many details of the flow system and chemical composition of the host rock. Other properties of natural systems such as permeability and mineral surface area, to name just two, may never be known with any great precision, and in fact may be unknowable. Because of these uncertainties, it remains an open question as to what extent numerical models of groundwater flow and reactive transport wilI be useful in making accurate quantitative predictions. Nevertheless, reactive transport models should be able to predict the outcome for the particular representation of the porous medium used in the model.


Finally, it should be mentioned that numerical models are often our only recourse to analyze such environmental problems as safe disposal of nuclear waste where predictions must be carried out over geologic time spans. Without such models it would be impossible to analyze such systems, because they involve times too long to perform laboratory experiments. The results of model calculations may affect important political decisions that must be made. Therefore, it is all the more important that models be applied and tested in diverse environments so that confidence and understanding of the limitations and strengths of model predictions are understood before irreversible decisions are made that could adversely affect generations to come.
Edward S. Grew, Orono, Maine, USA
Lawrence M. Anovitz, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
April 25, 2002

Contents of Volume 33

Title page
p. i

p. ii

p. iii

Preface to Second Printing, 2002
p. iv

Table of Contents
p. v - xx

Chapter 1. Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry of Boron: An Introduction
by Lawrence M. Anovitz and Edward S. Grew, p. 1 - 40

Chapter 2. The Crystal Chemistry of Boron
by Frank C. Hawthorne, Peter C. Burns, and Joel D. Grice, p. 41 - 116

Chapter 3. Experimental Studies on Borosilicates and Selected Borates
by G. Werding and Werner Schreyer, p. 117 - 164

Chapter 4. Thermochemistry of Borosilicate Melts and Glasses - from Pyrex to Pegmatites
by Alexandra Navrotsky, p. 165 - 180

Chapter 5. Thermodynamics of Boron Minerals: Summary of Structural, Volumetric and Thermochemical Data
by Lawrence M. Anovitz and Bruce S. Hemingway, p. 181 - 262

Chapter 6. Continental Borate Deposits of Cenozoic Age
by George I. Smith and Marjorie D. Medrano, p. 263 - 298

Chapter 7. Boron in Granitic Rocks and Their Contact Aureoles
by David London, George B. Morgan, VI, and Michael B. Wolf, p. 299 - 330

Chapter 8. Experimental Studies of Boron in Granitic Melts
by Donald B. Dingwell, Michel Pichavant, and François Holtz, p. 331 - 386

Chapter 9. Borosilicates (Exclusive of Tourmaline) and Boron in Rock-forming Minerals in Metamorphic Environments
by Edward S. Grew, p. 387 - 502

Chapter 10. Metamorphic Tourmaline and Its Petrologic Applications
by Darrell J. Henry and Barbara L. Dutrow, p. 503 - 558

Chapter 11. Tourmaline Associations with Hydrothermal Ore Deposits
by John F. Slack, p. 559 - 644

Chapter 12. Geochemistry of Boron and Its Implications for Crustal and Mantle Processes
by William P. Leeman and Virginia B. Sisson, p. 645 - 708

Chapter 13. Boron Isotope Geochemistry: An Overview
by Martin R. Palmer and George H. Swihart, p. 709 - 744

Chapter 14. Similarities and Contrasts in Lunar and Terrestrial Boron Geochemistry
by Denis M. Shaw, p. 745 - 770

Chapter 15. Electron Probe Microanalysis of Geologic Materials for Boron
by James J. McGee and Lawrence M. Anovitz, p. 771 - 788

Chapter 16. Analyses of Geological Materials for Boron by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
by Richard L. Hervig, p. 789 - 804

Replacement for Page 789 (pdf) Zabbix sophos xg snmp.

Chapter 17. Nuclear Methods for Analysis of Boron in Minerals
by J. David Robertson and M. Darby Dyar, p. 805 - 820

Chapter 18. Parallel Electron Energy-loss Spectroscopy of Boron in Minerals
by Laurence A. J. Garvie and Peter R. Buseck, p. 821 - 844

Chapter 19. Instrumental Techniques for Boron Isotope Analysis
by George H. Swihart, p. 845 - 862

Chapter 13, addendum
by Martin R. Palmer and George H. Swihart, p. 863 - 864

Errata. The Second Printing (2002) contained numerous corrections and additions to the original (1996) text. Unfortunately, changes to several chapters were inadvertently misplaced and thus were not included in this printing. They are detailed in (pdf)

Boron Isotopes Percent Abundance

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