The transport of Osmium and Strontium isotopes through a tropical estuary

M. Sharma, K. Balakrishna, A. W. Hofmann, R. Shankar

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35 Citations (Scopus)


We have determined the concentration and isotopic composition of Os and Sr in the estuarine waters from the Godavari delta in Peninsular India. Additionally, we have obtained the concentration and isotopic composition of Os and Al concentration in selected suspended particulate matter recovered on 0.45 μm filters. The Na, K, Mg, and Ca concentrations of water samples obtained along salinity gradients from two distributary channels in the delta display a general two component mixing between river- and sea-water. The data also reveal that Al behaves non-conservatively and is affected by interactions with suspended particulates. The 87Sr/86Sr ratio of the riverine end member is 0.716303 and shows a linear decrease with salinity to seawater value and Sr isotope systematics indicate that its behavior is conservative in the estuary. The 187Os/188Os ratio of the Godavari river end-member is 1.24 and within error of the average eroding upper continental crust. The concentration and isotopic composition of Os through the two salinity transects shows that its behavior in the Godavari estuary is complex and non-conservative. By comparing the Al/Os ratios and Os isotopes in the waters with those of the suspended particulate we find that both Os gains and losses occur in the water column. However, in one of the distributaries (Vasishta) the Os concentration of suspended load increases and that of dissolved load decreases with increasing salinity towards the Bay of Bengal end-member. We infer that there is removal of seawater Os at higher salinities. The estimated mean residence time of Os in the oceans is 37 ± 14 (2σ) kyr. A comparison of the Os concentration of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean waters indicates that the rainout rate of Os in Bay of Bengal is 30% faster than that in the open ocean and suggests that the observed discrepancy between the mean residence time calculated from mass balance considerations and that estimated from the relaxation of the Os isotopic ratio in marine record may not be real as the relaxation time experiments likely estimate the residence time for a basin/sub-basin and not for the entire ocean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4856-4867
Number of pages12
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15-10-2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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