Determination of the Rare Earth Elements in Sea Water

  • H. Elderfield
  • M. J. Greaves
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 9)


A method is described for the mass spectrometric isotope dilution analysis of rare earth elements in sea water. The REE are concentrated from sea water by coprecipitation with ferric hydroxide and separated from other elements and into groups for analysis by anion exchange using mixed solvents. Results for synthetic mixtures and standards show that the method is accurate and precise to ∿ ±1%; and blanks are low (e.g. 10−12moles La and 10−14 moles Eu). The method has been applied to the determination of nine REE in a variety of oceanographic samples. Results for N. Atlantic ocean water below the mixed layer are (in 10−12 mol kg−1) 13.0 La, 16.8 Ce, 12.8 Nd, 2.67 Sm, 0.644 Eu, 3.41 Gd, 4.78 Dy, 4.07 Er and 3.55 Yb, with an enrichment of REE in deep ocean water, by ’ 2 x for the light REE and ti 1.3 x for the heavy REE.


Ferric Hydroxide Ferric Chloride Solution Ferromanganese Nodule Rare Earth Element Concentration Deep Ocean Water 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Elderfield
    • 1
  • M. J. Greaves
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesThe University of LeedsLeedsUK

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