- © 2017 Mineralogical Society of America
The first Reviews in Mineralogy volume on the Geochemistry of Non-Traditional Stable Isotopes was compiled before it was appropriate to include a chapter on mercury (Hg) stable isotope geochemistry. At that time there were only a few papers on this new topic (Jackson 2001; Lauretta et al. 2001; Hintelmann and Lu 2003), and there were still some important analytical issues that needed to be resolved. But the field has come a long way in a decade. Now we have a different problem; at our last count there were well over 100 publications utilizing mercury stable isotopes and it is becoming very difficult to synthesize this vast amount of exciting and rapidly developing research. Experimental studies have expanded our knowledge of the mechanisms of mercury isotope fractionation and applications of mercury isotope measurements have touched virtually every area of research in mercury biogeochemistry. There have been a number of previous reviews of the mercury stable isotope literature as it has developed (Ridley and Stetson 2006; Bergquist and Blum 2009; Yin et al. 2010; Blum 2011; Hintelmann 2012; Blum et al. 2014).
It is our view that the field has become too large to comprehensively review the entire literature on mercury stable isotopes. Ten years ago Hg isotope researchers were just beginning to explore the boundaries of natural Hg isotope variation and the mechanisms that cause this variation in the environment. At that time large and relatively easily measured isotope signals were of great interest and mercury isotope researchers were beginning to develop theories to explain mass dependent isotope fractionation (MDF) and mass independent isotope fractionation of the odd mass-numbered isotopes of mercury (odd-MIF). More recently researchers have discovered a wider range of types of isotopic variability (even-MIF), some of which are subtle and …