Sequential quartz purification of 125–63 µm material for in-situ cosmogenic nuclide analysis

Ross J. Whitmore, Kevin P. Norton, Luisa Ashworth, Andrew N. Mackintosh

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Quartz purification is a necessary and critical step to producing robust and reproducible results in terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide studies. Previous quartz purification work has centred on coarse sample material (1 mm-500 µm) and is anecdotally effective down to ∼250 µm. However, sample material with finer grain sizes are usually discarded. The adapted purification procedure outlined here shows that very-fine-sand sized material (125–63 µm) can be reliably cleaned for use in terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide studies. The results below show that 35% mass loss in very fine-grained quartz is sufficient to remove major elements (Al, Ti, Na, K, Fe, Mg, Ca, Mn,), 9Be, and meteoric 10Be. While other precise analysis (ICP-MS and ICP-OES) can verify sample purity, mass loss is a fast, inexpensive, and easy metric to set a standard by. This work shows that meteoric 10Be is easily removed from very-fine-grained samples while Al takes more effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022


  • Cosmochemistry
  • HF Leaching
  • MeteoricBe purification
  • Purifying Greywacke
  • Quartz Purification

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