Oxygen-18 Variations in Sulfate Ions in Sea Water and Saline Lakes

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Science  07 Apr 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3771, pp. 56-59
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3771.56


A new method measures the oxygen-isotopic composition of dissolved sulfate ions and barium sulfate. Sulfate ions in the oceans are enriched in oxygen-18 by 9.5 per mille relative to mean ocean water and show only minor variations, probably because the exchange rate with water is slow enough to prevent local equilibrium with surface waters. Sulfate ions in saline lakes and brines have oxygen-18 enrichment of from 7 to 23 per mille relative to mean ocean water;the value of the highest enrichment observed is about the same as that of atmospheric oxygen.