Earth Science Frontiers ›› 2021, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (6): 29-45.DOI: 10.13745/j.esf.sf.2021.1.38

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Non-traditional stable isotopes in evaporite system: A research review

XIA Zhiguang1, HU Zhongya1,2, LIU Chuan1, WEI Haizhen1, LI Weiqiang1,*   

  1. 1. School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China;
    2. School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
  • Received:2021-01-10 Revised:2021-02-18 Online:2021-11-25 Published:2021-11-25

Abstract: Evaporites are the product of seawater/brine concentration by evaporation. Evaporites of various types are deposited in different hydrochemical environments and distributed in different geological periods. They are important proxies for paleo-seawater and paleoenvironment. The key issues in evaporites studies include the source and formation age of evaporates, the evolutionary history of evaporative basin/brine, and environmental changes recorded by the evaporite minerals. Mineralogical and geochemical criteria (such as elemental ratio and isotopic composition) have been used to resolve these issues. Among the methods used, stable isotopes play an important role in tracing the source and formation processes of evaporites. In the past 20 years non-traditional stable isotope geochemistry has developed rapidly and been successfully applied in evaporites research. These isotope systems consist of anionic elements B, Cl, and Br, and cationic elements Mg, K, and Ca. This paper reviews the advances of several non-traditional stable isotopes in evaporites research, mainly on stable isotope fractionation between evaporite minerals and brine, reconstruction of isotopic composition of paleo-seawater, and use of isotopic information in tracing genesis and formation age of evaporites.

Key words: evaporite, brine, paleo-seawater, non-traditional stable isotope, isotope fractionation, tracing

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