Stable and radiogenic strontium isotope fractionation during hydrothermal seawater-basalt interaction

Martin Voigt*, Christopher R. Pearce, Andre Baldermann, Eric H. Oelkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fluid-rock interactions occurring in hydrothermal systems at or near mid-oceanic ridges (MOR) were studied experimentally by reacting crystalline and glassy basalt with seawater at 250 °C and 290 °C while monitoring the liquid phase Sr isotopic evolution (87Sr/86Sr and δ88/86Sr). The results indicate that seawater Sr was incorporated into anhydrite during the early stages of seawater-basalt interaction. Liquid 87Sr/86Sr values trend towards the basaltic signature as non-stoichiometric basalt dissolution became the dominant process. This suggests that the interplay between fast Sr incorporation into secondary sulfates versus slow and continuous Sr liberation due to basalt dissolution at intermediate temperatures could partly explain previously identified discrepancies between MOR heat budget constraints and the marine 87Sr/86Sr budget. Late-stage anhydrite re-dissolution, likely caused by the liquid phase becoming more reducing through further basalt dissolution, as well as by quenching of the experiments, represents a potential explanation for the low amounts of anhydrite found in naturally altered oceanic basalt samples. Relatively strong decreases in liquid δ88/86Sr values in experiments with crystalline basalt suggest that isotopically light Sr was preferentially released due to non-stoichiometric dissolution. A slight preference of anhydrite for isotopically heavy Sr (εAnhydrite-Liquid 88/86=0.034±0.019‰) is indicated by the data, suggesting that changes in MOR spreading rates and Sr removal could be recorded in the isotope compositions of authigenic, sedimentary Sr phases. Such insights will help to constrain the influence of hydrothermal systems on the oceanic stable Sr cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-151
Number of pages21
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Hydrothermal activity
  • Isotopes
  • Mid-oceanic ridges
  • Seawater
  • Strontium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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