Coprecipitation of trace and minor elements in modern authigenic halites from the hypersaline Dead Sea brine

Barak Herut, Ittai Gavrieli, Ludwik Halicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern halite samples were collected from the Dead Sea (post 1983) and analyzed for their minor (Br, Mn, K, Ca) and trace (Cs, Pb, Zn, Ni) element concentrations. The halites collected include sedimentary halites with different morphologies and halites which crystallized on ropes suspended in the water body (rope-halites). The mechanisms of minor and trace element coprecipitation with these halites are discussed, and their apparent distribution coefficients are calculated (DMn = 0.09, DK = 3.6 × 10-4, DCa = 5 × 10-5, DBr = 0.011, DCd = 9.3, DPb = 3.5, DZn = 0.041, DNi = 0.11) mainly based on the sedimentary halites, which represent the slowest crystallization rates and are therefore crystallized at or closest to equilibrium with the brine. Several types of halites which crystallized at different crystallization rates exhibit large variations in coprecipitated Mn and to a lesser degree of coprecipitated K and Ca. The wide range of calculated DBr and DK values in halites precipitated from the Dead Sea brine and from evaporated seawater are probably due to kinetic factors and not to differences in the parent brine compositions. The present study apparent distribution coefficient values probably best represent, both the Dead Sea brine and evaporated seawater at similar ionic strengths. The continuous precipitation of halite since 1983 played a major role in the removal of Cd and Pb from the Dead Sea brine and only a minor role in the removal of Zn and Ni. Based on estimates of inventories in the Dead Sea, the removal flux of Cd and Pb are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1587-1598
Number of pages12
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Dr. A. Hecht for providing the rope-halite samples, to Skipper Moti Gonen and his crew on the R/V Tiolit for their help in collecting the samples, to Mrs. G. Fainshtein and Dr. Dorfman for their help in the analytical work, to Prof. B. S. Krumgalz for calculating ions activity coefficients, and to Ms. Keren Diskin for typing and editing the manuscript. This work was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Grants 94-17-007 and 95-17-014.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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