Evaluation of the effects of composition on instrumental mass fractionation during SIMS oxygen isotope analyses of glasses

M. E. Hartley*, T. Thordarson, C. Taylor, J. G. Fitton, J. Craven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Significant instrumental mass fractionation (IMF) occurs during measurements of oxygen isotope ratios in magmatic glasses by SIMS. In order to characterise and correct for this fractionation, we measured oxygen isotope ratios in a range of international and internal glass standards ranging in composition from basalt (47 wt.% SiO2) to rhyolite (72 wt.% SiO2) and with known major element compositions. Oxygen isotope ratios were determined by laser fluorination at SUERC, East Kilbride, or taken from previously published values. A total of 1105 delta O-18 measurements were made over nine sessions on a Cameca IMS-1270 ion microprobe at the University of Edinburgh. SIMS measurements on glass standards had external precision better than +/- 0.36 parts per thousand (1 sigma), and the reference material analysed alongside the unknown samples, USGS synthetic glass GSA-1G, had an average external precision of +/- 0.14 parts per thousand. The selected standards are thus sufficiently homogeneous in delta O-18 to be suitable calibration standards. In terms of delta O-18, the SIMS measurements show that, within a single session, IMF may vary by up to 4.7 parts per thousand from one glass standard to another. IMF is strongly correlated with SiO2 and CaO. A least squares regression calculation was used to explore potential univariate and multivariate correction schemes. For each correction scheme, the correction coefficients determined for each session were then used to calculate the IMF and correct the measured isotopic ratio of each glass standard. A univariate correction scheme using only SiO2 to correct for IMF reproduced 75% of the glass standards to within +/- 0.2 parts per thousand of their true delta O-18, and 95% to within +/- 0.4 parts per thousand Bivariate correction schemes using SiO2-CaO and FeO-CaO produced similar results, but did not significantly improve on the SiO2 correction. The correction schemes were applied to delta O-18 measurements made on melt inclusions and glasses from the Askja volcanic system, North Iceland. The uni- and bivariate correction schemes tested produced delta O-18 values within the published range for Icelandic basalts. We recommend a simple correction scheme based on the SiO2 content of appropriate standards, which should span a suitable compositional range from basalt to rhyolite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-323
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Geology
Issue numbern/a
Early online date22 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2012


  • SIMS
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Matrix effects
  • Glass standards
  • Melt inclusions


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