Comparison of reductive accumulation of Re and Os in seawater-sediment systems

Yoshiro Yamashita, Yoshio Takahashi, Hiromitsu Haba, Shuichi Enomoto, Hiroshi Shimizu

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79 Citations (Scopus)


In order to understand the fractionation of Re and Os in marine environments, their removal from artificial seawater to Tokyo Bay sediments is studied using a multitracer technique. The chemical processes of the removal of Re and Os are also estimated based on their speciation analyses by X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy. The partitioning experiments, which use the multitracer technique, provide information on Re and Os regarding (i) their distributions between artificial seawater-sediment systems, (ii) their complexation with humic acid, and (iii) their carriers in sediments. In addition, XAFS spectroscopy provides direct information on the chemical states of Re and Os in the sediments. In an artificial seawater-sediment system containing a multitracer, Re is removed from the artificial seawater only under a reducing environment. The speciation of Re by X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) suggests that the majority of Re remains as ReO4- in the artificial seawater even under highly reducing conditions, during laboratory time scale (about 2 weeks). Moreover, XANES simulation shows that some Re exists at a lower oxidation state, such as ReO2, in the reducing sediment. These results can be explained by the slow kinetics of the reaction which is similar to those suggested by previous geochemical studies. In contrast, Os is readily removed from the artificial seawater into sediments under various redox conditions. Even under oxic conditions, a large fraction of Os is removed from the artificial seawater to sediments without organic matter. Based on the Os XANES study, it is confirmed that the oxidation states of Os incorporated in the reducing sediment and oxic sediment are trivalent and tetravalent, respectively. Sequential extraction suggests that the main carrier of Os in the organic-rich sediment is either ferromanganese oxides or organic matter, and that the Os in these two fractions may correspond to hydrolyzed insoluble Os species and Os species interacting with organic matter, at lower valence, respectively. The results of distribution study of Os in the absence and presence of humic acid (HA) also imply that Os assumes more than one chemical species, and a small fraction of Os may interact with HA in the experimental system. Meanwhile, extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) confirms that the first neighboring atom of Os in the reducing sediment is oxygen. If Os(VIII) is the main dissolved species in seawater, as is expected thermodynamically, reductive removal may control the enrichment of Os in the sediment. Osmium, which is removed as Os(IV), is reduced further to Os(III) by a diagenetic process and may be complexed with organic matter in the reducing sediment. The results of the removal behaviors of Re and Os obtained in the current study show that Re can be removed from the artificial seawater only under highly reducing conditions within 2 weeks, but Os removal from the artificial seawater can be found under various redox conditions. Thus, a high 187Re/188Os ratio can occur only in reducing sediments, such as black shales. The high187Re/188Os ratio, in turn, makes black shales suitable for Re-Os dating. In contrast, authigenic sediments (and minerals) under oxic environments can enrich Os, but since Re is not distributed to the sediments under oxic conditions, this will cause a much lower 187Re/188Os ratio than that of seawater. The Os isotope system of these materials can be used as a paleo-marine environmental tracer since the 187Os/188Os ratio cannot grow significantly due to its extremely low 187Re/188Os ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3458-3475
Number of pages18
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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