News Column

Researchers from Scottish University Environmental Research Center Report Details of New Studies and Findings in the Area of Chalcogens [Genesis of...

September 9, 2014

Researchers from Scottish University Environmental Research Center Report Details of New Studies and Findings in the Area of Chalcogens [Genesis of nanometric illite crystals elucidated by light-element (hydrogen, lithium, boron and oxygen) ...]

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- Current study results on Chalcogens have been published. According to news reporting from Lanark, United Kingdom, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, "Illitization is a widely used tracer for evaluation of the thermal evolution in volcano-sedimentary sequences during burial, metamorphic and tectonic events. However, no agreement exists about how the process proceeds at the crystal scale, which initiated perspectives based on the challenging separation of nanometric 'fundamental' illite-rich particles in the mid 1980s."

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from Scottish University Environmental Research Center, "In 1997, the first isotopic study on such nanometric crystals was published, followed by others that raised new potential to improve understanding of the illitization process. The present review focuses on the promising and still unsolved aspects of light-element isotopic (delta D, delta Li-7, delta B-11, delta O-18) tracing, and K-Ar and Rb-Sr dating of nanometric illite-rich crystals extracted not only from bentonites, but also from sandstones and shales in diagenetic to low-grade metamorphic conditions. If the study of nanocrystals from bentonite and sandstone beds now appears successful, problems remain in separating mechanically authigenic illite-type crystals from detrital minerals of shales, even at the nanometric size. An indirect way to distinguish the data of these components is alkylammonium leaching, which has the specificity of stochiometrically replacing K in dioctahedral mica-type particles, and therefore to modify significantly their K-Ar balance. The overall separation technique for illite nanocrystals is specific with chemical treatments to remove the soluble phases, including organics, that are mixed with illite, 'infinite' dispersion, high-speed fluid-flow centrifugation and removal of excess reagent by dialysis. Importantly, the initial K-Ar studies showed that no age information is lost during crystal nucleation and growth, with the whole illitization history apparently retained in the illite particles of different sizes. Based on combined K-Ar, Rb-Sr, delta O-18 and dD studies, reaction rates and durations of illitization can be reconstructed, together with changing crystallization temperature and fluid chemistry depending on the water/rock ratio. On the basis of K-Ar dating, nucleation and growth can be continuous during a given period of time, or episodic. The Rb-Sr method complements the information about the origin of the interacting fluids by recalculating Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios that depend on the amount of the fluids and their interaction with their pore environment. Combined with oxygen isotope data, such Sr isotope information points to differences in the origin of the solvents (by delta O-18) and the solutes (by Sr-87/Sr-86). The delta O-18 values of the illite crystals provide information about nucleation or growth temperature, either increasing during burial, or set abnormally high and constant during thermal episodes, or about changing fluid composition. Occurrence of organic matter could potentially bias the delta O-18 of nucleating and growing illite crystals, when involved in initial organic maturation. The largest B reservoir in sedimentary deposits is probably within the organic matter. When released with oil and gas after maturation, most of this organic B is isotopically light in the fluids relative to other natural waters, whereas B-11 fractionates preferentially into the bitumen. Put in context with oxygen and hydrogen isotope variations, the B data also confirm that the illite tetrahedral B-O bonds are as strong as the Si-O bonds, thus preserving the large isotopic variations that occur during thermal maturation of kerogen. The changing clay-organic interactions in sedimentary environments can, therefore, be traced by the B content and isotope composition."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "The presently limited results on Li contents and isotope composition of nanometric illite crystals that potentially interact with organics outline trends that are similar to those of B."

For more information on this research see: Genesis of nanometric illite crystals elucidated by light-element (hydrogen, lithium, boron and oxygen) isotope tracing, and K-Ar and Rb-Sr dating. Chemical Geology, 2014;383():26-50. Chemical Geology can be contacted at: Elsevier Science Bv, PO Box 211, 1000 Ae Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Elsevier -; Chemical Geology -

Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting N. Clauer, Scottish University Environmental Research Center, Glasgow G75 0QF, Lanark, United Kingdom. Additional authors for this research include L.B. Williams and A.E. Fallick (see also Chalcogens).

Keywords for this news article include: Lanark, United Kingdom, Europe, Chalcogens, Elements, Emerging Technologies, Gases, Hydrogen, Inorganic Chemicals, Nanocrystal, Nanotechnology, Oxygen Isotopes

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Life Science Weekly

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters