We have developed an analytical system to determine stable isotopic compositions (δ13C and δ18O) of sub-microgram quantities of CaCO3 for the purpose of analyzing individual foraminiferal shells, using continuous-flow isotope ratio mass spectrometry (CF-IRMS). The system consists of a micro-volume CaCO3 decomposition tube, stainless steel CO2 purification vacuum line with a quantity-regulating unit, helium-purged CO2 purification line, gas chromatograph, and a CF-IRMS system. By using this system, we can determine stable carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions as low as 0.2 μg of CaCO3, with standard deviations of ±0.10‰ for δ13C and ±0.18‰ for δ18O within a 4-h reaction time and 30-min analysis period. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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