Strontium Isotope Analysis – Sample Types and Selection

The following recommendations are general guidelines. Individual sample size requirements largely vary based on the sample type. Please feel free to contact us for advice if you are concerned that your samples are too small.

Reminders:

DO NOT wrap samples in aluminum or any metal foil. Use weighing paper if you need to wrap them.

Submit samples in a ziplock bag or teflon container with PRINTED SAMPLE ID attached outside the bag.

Always choose the best samples for your research objectives

Our recommended sample sizes assume the material is dry and free of adhering matrix.

Please tap/click on a row to view the sample preparation instructions for each material.

Material Type Sample Size Recommended Container Other Services
Bones 500 mg
  • Ziplock bags
U-Th Dating +
For the best results, make sure your samples are clean and free from soil, clay particles, calcite and other detritus.
Bones (ashed) 100-150 mg
  • Vials (preferably with screw tops)
  • microcentrifuge tubes, or
  • counting slides
Lead Isotopes +
For the best results, make sure your samples are clean and free from soil, clay particles, calcite and other detritus.

Ash samples in a quartz crucible at 850°C for 3 hours and transfer the residues into clean small glass or plastic vials.

A larger sample size is required if we need to ash the samples.

Samples are digested in 8 M nitric acid (lower concentrations may be used if the sample contains clay and detritus).
Forams (pre-extracted) 10 mg
  • Vials (preferably with screw tops)
  • microcentrifuge tubes, or
  • counting slides
None +
For the best results, make sure your samples are clean and free from clay particles and other detritus.

Samples are digested in 6 M nitric acid (lower concentrations may be used if the sample contains clay and detritus).
Igneous Rocks 30-50 mg
  • Plastic or glass vials
Lead Isotopes
Sr-Nd-Hf
+
Rock samples need to be homogenized prior to submission. For effective sample dissolution, high-temperature flux fusion is the method of choice. Homogenized samples are fused at 1075°C with high-purity lithium metaborate (LiBO2, Puratronic) and ultra-pure grade lithium bromide to ensure complete recovery of the melt. The melt is directly digested in 6 M nitric acid.

Sr isotope measurements can be conducted on smaller sample sizes, please consult the lab before submitting samples.
Mineral Dust (ashed) 30-50 mg
  • Vials (preferably with screw tops)
  • microcentrifuge tubes, or
  • counting slides
Lead Isotopes
Sr-Nd-Hf
+
Aerosol samples collected on filter paper must be ashed entirely prior to submission. All organics must be removed from the sample either by ashing or with hydrogen peroxide.

A larger sample size is required if we need to remove the organics or ash the samples.

For effective sample dissolution, high-temperature flux fusion is the method of choice. Aerosol samples are fused at 1075°C with high-purity lithium metaborate (LiBO2, Puratronic) and ultra-pure grade lithium bromide to ensure complete recovery of the melt. The melt is directly digested in 6 M nitric acid.

Sr isotope measurements can be conducted on smaller sample sizes, please consult the lab before submitting samples.
Sediments (detrital, carbonate, or bulk) 50 mg
  • Plastic or glass vials
    Put them inside a labeled Ziplock bag.
Lead Isotopes
Sr-Nd-Hf
+
All organics must be removed from the sample either by ashing or with hydrogen peroxide. All carbonate fractions must be removed if you wish to measure Sr isotopes only on siliciclastic fraction. A larger sample size is required if we need to remove the carbonates and organics from the samples.

For effective sample dissolution, high-temperature flux fusion is the method of choice. Sediment samples will be fused at 1075°C with high-purity lithium metaborate (LiBO2, Puratronic) and ultra-pure grade lithium bromide to ensure complete recovery of the melt.

The melt is directly digested in 6 M nitric acid. Sr isotope measurements can be conducted on smaller sample sizes, please consult the lab before submitting samples.
Shells, Coral, Carbonates 100-150 mg
  • Ziplock bags
Boron Isotopes
U-Th Dating
+
For the best results, make sure your samples are clean and free from clay particles and other detritus.

Homogenize your samples, preferably using an agate mortar and pestle, and transfer into plastic or glass vials. Homogenized samples are digested in 6 M nitric acid (lower concentrations may be used if the sample contains clay and detritus).
Tooth Enamel 100 mg
  • Vials (preferably with screw tops)
  • microcentrifuge tubes, or
  • counting slides
Lead Isotopes
U-Th Dating
+
To remove non-biogenic Sr from enamel or bone, samples will be sequentially treated by 0.1 N acetic acid.

Please contact the lab if you want to follow different protocols or you prefer to skip this stage.
Water 125 mL
  • Small-neck plastic bottle (HDPE, LDPE, PP)
  • DO NOT use glass vials.
Boron Isotopes
Lead Isotopes
+
Rinse the bottle with the running sample water prior to collection. Do not add any chemicals to the water, do not acidify the water. Fill the bottle all the way to the top, you may leave a small space at the top (keep the neck of the bottle empty) to allow for any necessary expansion during shipment.

Please put the bottles inside a plastic bag and seal the bag with a zip-tie or duct tape. Clearly label both the bottle and the plastic bag.
Wool 75 mg
  • Ziplock bags
Strontium Isotopes
(dye fraction)
+
For the best results, make sure your samples are clean and free from soil, clay particles, calcite, and other detritus.

Dye will be removed from the wool prior to digestion and extraction chromatography. Contact the lab if you are also interested in measuring strontium isotopes in dye fraction.

The lab also offers strontium concentration measurements for an additional fee and ONLY in conjunction with isotope analyses. Please consult the lab before submitting samples.


Duration: 2 minutes, 40 seconds || Speaker: Arash Sharifi, PhD
This video excerpt is part of Isobar Science’s webinar: Geochemistry and Application of Strontium Isotopes.
Disclaimer: This video is hosted in a third-party site and may contain advertising.