Increased solubility of quartz in water due to complexing by organic compounds

P. Bennett, D. I. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

157 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quartz is the most stable natural solid phase of silica. It weathers extremely slowly at the Earth's surface1, and often resists weathering even after all other silicate minerals have been degraded. However, there is ample evidence from both ancient and modern environments indicating enhanced dissolution and mobility of silica under conditions that cannot easily be explained by the inorganic controls of quartz solubility2. Increased solubility of quartz has been observed particularly in soils rich in organic material; however, no direct link between dissolved organic carbon and dissolved silica has been identified3. Here we present evidence for an increase in the solubility of quartz in a natural water brought about by dissolved organic compounds. These compounds were produced by the biodegradation of petroleum, and consist largely of a complex mixture of organic acids. We propose that silica is being complexed and mobilized by these organic acids in waters having close to neutral pH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-686
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume326
Issue number6114
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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