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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 10
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 3925–3933, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 3925–3933, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Technical note 31 Oct 2012

Technical note | 31 Oct 2012

Technical Note: Evaluation of between-sample memory effects in the analysis of δ2H and δ18O of water samples measured by laser spectroscopes

D. Penna1,2, B. Stenni3, M. Šanda4, S. Wrede5,8, T. A. Bogaard6, M. Michelini3, B. M. C. Fischer7, A. Gobbi1, N. Mantese1, G. Zuecco1, M. Borga1, M. Bonazza3, M. Sobotková4, B. Čejková9, and L. I. Wassenaar10 D. Penna et al.
  • 1Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, Italy
  • 2Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
  • 3Department of Mathematics and Geosciences, University of Trieste, Italy
  • 4Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic
  • 5Department of Hydrology, University of Trier, Germany
  • 6Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • 7Department of Geography, University of Zürich, Switzerland
  • 8Department of Environment and Agro-Biotechnologies, Centre de Recherche Public – Gabriel Lippmann, Luxembourg
  • 9Czech Geological Survey, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 10Isotope Hydrology Laboratory, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna

Abstract. This study evaluated between-sample memory in isotopic measurements of δ2H and δ18O in water samples by laser spectroscopy. Ten isotopically depleted water samples spanning a broad range of oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions were measured by three generations of off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy and cavity ring-down spectroscopy instruments. The analysis procedure encompassed small (less than 2‰ for δ2H and 1‰ for δ18O) and large (up to 201‰ for δ2H and 25‰ for δ18O) differences in isotopic compositions between adjacent sample vials. Samples were injected 18 times each, and the between-sample memory effect was quantified for each analysis run. Results showed that samples adversely affected by between-sample isotopic differences stabilised after seven–eight injections. The between-sample memory effect ranged from 14% and 9% for δ2H and δ18O measurements, respectively, but declined to negligible carryover (between 0.1% and 0.3% for both isotopes) when the first ten injections of each sample were discarded. The measurement variability (range and standard deviation) was strongly dependent on the isotopic difference between adjacent vials. Standard deviations were up to 7.5‰ for δ2H and 0.54‰ for δ18O when all injections were retained in the computation of the reportable δ-value, but a significant increase in measurement precision (standard deviation in the range 0.1‰–1.0‰ for δ2H and 0.05‰–0.17‰ for δ18O) was obtained when the first eight injections were discarded. In conclusion, this study provided a practical solution to mitigate between-sample memory effects in the isotopic analysis of water samples by laser spectroscopy.

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