Direct Measurement of Femtomoles of Osmium and the 187Os/186Os Ratio in Seawater

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Science  09 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5387, pp. 272-274
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5387.272

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Two depth profiles of the osmium concentration and the187Os/186Os isotopic ratio in the Indian Ocean showed that the osmium concentration seems to be unaltered by chemical or biological processes occuring in seawater; accordingly, osmium is conservative. These data were obtained from an experimental method that eliminated the problems related to osmium preconcentration. This method led to a new evaluation of the concentration of osmium in seawater; the mean concentration of osmium and the187Os/186Os ratio are equal to 10.86 ± 0.07 picograms per kilogram and 8.80 ± 0.07, respectively. The results suggest the existence of an organocomplex that dominates the speciation of osmium in seawater.

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