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Book: Acid Sulfate Weathering
Published by: Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 37-56
    SSSA Special Publication 10.
    Acid Sulfate Weathering

    J.A. Kittrick, D.S. Fanning and L.R. Hossner (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-905-3


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Aqueous Pyrite Oxidation and the Consequent Formation of Secondary Iron Minerals

  1. Darrell Kirk Nordstrom 11


The oxidation of pyrite in aqueous systems is a complex biogeochemical process involving several redox reactions and microbial catalysis. This paper reviews the kinetic data on pyrite oxidation, compares available data on the inorganic vs. microbial oxidative mechanisms and describes the occurrence of mineral products resulting from pyrite oxidation. Although oxygen is the overall oxidant, kinetic data suggests that ferric iron is the direct oxidant in acid systems and that temperature, pH, surface area, and the presence of iron and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria can greatly affect the rate of reaction. The vast amount of literature on the microbial and geochemical investigations on this subject have limited usefulness for understanding natural systems. Additional research is needed on the hydrologic, geologic and microbiologic characteristics of field sites where oxidation occurs. The acid water resulting from pyrite oxidation may precipitate a large suite of soluble and insoluble iron minerals depending on pH, degree of oxidation, moisture content, and solution composition.

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Copyright © 1982. Copyright 1982 by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA