Beryllium-7 analyses in seawater by low background gamma-spectroscopy
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7Be is a cosmogenic isotope produced in the stratosphere and troposphere. 7Be has a half-life of 53.4 days and decays to 7Li emitting a 477 keV gamma line with a branching ratio of 0.104. It is predominantly washed out of the atmosphere through wet deposition. It is a tool for oceanographers to study air sea interaction and water mass mixing. Beryllium’s largely non-reactive nature in the open ocean makes it an excellent conservative tracer. Its conservative nature and extreme dilution in seawater also makes it difficult to concentrate and analyze. Early experiments at WHOI with Fe(OH)3 cartridges to directly collect 7Be by insitu underwater pumps proved ineffective. Collection efficiencies of the cartridges were too low to be consistently useful. At sea chemistry of whole water samples became the method of choice. The use of stable 9Be as a yield monitor further improved the accuracy of the procedure. The method was optimized at WHOI in 2005 using a seawater line that enters WHOI’s coastal research lab. The procedure was then used on an oceanographic cruise on the R/V Oceanus out of Bermuda in the oligotrophic Sargasso Sea.
Author Posting. © Akadémiai Kiadó, 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 277 (2008): 253-259, doi:10.1007/s10967-008-0739-y.