, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 465-473

Measurement of Noble Gas Solubility in Seawater Using a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer

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Abstract

A quadrupole-based mass spectrometric system for determining noble gas (He, Ne, Ar, Kr and Xe) abundances in a liquid sample has been developed and applied to seawater equilibrated with the atmosphere at several temperatures. After known amounts of isotopic spikes (22Ne, 36Ar, 86Kr and 124Xe) were introduced into the preparation vacuum line, dissolved gases were extracted from seawater and well mixed with the spikes by ultrasonic vibration. Noble gases were purified using three-stage hot Ti getters and separated by two activated charcoal traps held at low temperature (liquid nitrogen and dry ice—ethanol). Noble gas abundances were measured by a relatively inexpensive quadrupole mass spectrometer based on the isotope dilution technique. Precisions obtained by repeated measurements for He, Ne, Ar, Kr and Xe are 1.5%, 0.4%, 0.4%, 0.4% and 0.6%, respectively. Noble gas abundances in air-saturated seawater at eight temperature steps (1.0°C, 5.5°C, 10.0°C, 14.4°C, 17.0°C, 21.3°C, 24.6°C, and 29.6°C) were measured using the analytical system. The overall variation of the abundances with temperature agrees well with those of NaCl brines reported in the literature. We propose here new constants to fit observed data to empirical equation of noble gas solubility in seawater with its temperature variation.