Isotopic evidence for the retention of 90Sr inferred from excess 90Zr in the Oklo natural fission reactors: Implication for geochemical behaviour of fissiogenic Rb, Sr, Cs and Ba

Hiroshi Hidaka*, Takeshi Sugiyama, Mitsuru Ebihara, Philippe Holliger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In order to investigate the mobility of fissiogenic 90Sr in the geological environment, the Zr isotopic compositions of seven samples from one of the newly formed Oklo natural reactor zones (i.e., reactor core and adjacent rocks (10, SF84)) in the Republic of Gabon were determined with an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). Zr isotopes in uraninite grains from different reactor zones were also measured by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Fissiogenic Zr isotopic abundances of three samples from the reactor core have excess 90Zr, which has never before been formed in previous Oklo samples. In this paper, the geochemical behaviour of 90Zr is discussed by making use of the relative retentivity inferred from the isotopic abundance of Sr. The excess in 90Zr suggests dependence on the degree of retention/migration of 90Sr, the precursor of 90Zr in the fission chain. In the aqueous phase, chemical fractionation between Sr and Zr could have occurred before radioactive 90Sr decayed. Considering the halflife of 90Sr (t 1 2 = 29.1 y), considerable amounts of the latter have been produced during criticality. Sr and Zr (including 90Zr) could have been redistributed between the reactor core and its vicinity. The retentivity of fissiogenic 90Zr in reactor core 10 is not homogeneous. In addition, the distributions of Rb, Cs and Ba is also heterogeneous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Mar
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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