Nonbiological Fractionation of Iron Isotopes

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Science  07 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5463, pp. 126-128
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5463.126

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Laboratory experiments demonstrate that iron isotopes can be chemically fractionated in the absence of biology. Isotopic variations comparable to those seen during microbially mediated reduction of ferrihydrite are observed. Fractionation may occur in aqueous solution during equilibration between inorganic iron complexes. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms of iron isotope fractionation and suggest that nonbiological processes may contribute to iron isotope variations observed in sediments.

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