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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Short Communications

The Adsorption and Release of Sulfur in Mineral and Organic Soils of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

 

This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 3, p. 1108-1112
     
    Received: Sept 2, 2009


    * Corresponding author(s): cwhitfield@trentu.ca
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doi:10.2134/jeq2009.0341
  1. C. J. Whitfield *a,
  2. A. Adkinsonb,
  3. M. C. Eimersc and
  4. S. A. Watmoughd
  1. a Environmental and Resource Studies Dep., Trent Univ., 1600 West Bank Dr., Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B8, Canada
    b Dep. of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton Univ., 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada
    c Dep. of Geography, Trent Univ., 1600 West Bank Dr., Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B8, Canada
    d Environmental and Resource Studies Dep., Trent Univ., 1600 West Bank Dr., Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B8, Canada. Assigned to Associate Editor Greg Evanylo

Abstract

Mineral soil and fibric peat from acid-sensitive western boreal catchments in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Alberta, Canada were evaluated for their ability to adsorb and release SO4 2− Laboratory batch studies indicated that SO4 2− adsorption in mineral soil from both the A and B horizons exhibits a limited response to elevated SO4 2− concentrations, with the slope of initial mass isotherms <0.2 for all soils, likely due to low iron and aluminum oxide content. Although S retention is the dominant process in peat soils in the region, drought simulations in the lab using fibric peat collected from a poor fen exhibited as much as a five-fold increase in SO4 2− concentration after drying and rewetting. Given the limited SO4 2− adsorption capacity of mineral soils and the potential drought-induced S release from peatlands in this region where increased S deposition is expected, further investigation of acidification impacts is warranted.

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