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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Sulfate Retention by Acid Sulfate-Polluted Soils in the Copper Basin Area of Tennessee1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 45 No. 2, p. 283-287
    Received: Apr 31, 1980

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  1. J. D. Wolt2



The stability of the Al-hydroxy-sulfates, alunite and basaluminite, was investigated as a possible mechanism for sulfate retention by acid sulfate-polluted soils within the Copper Basin area of Tennessee. Representative soils were described and sampled from sites reflecting varied but unknown levels of S input and were subsequently analyzed for total and extractable S contents and soil solution composition. Although in general agreement with an adsorptive mechanism, the retention of sulfate was best explained as the consequence of Al-hydroxy-sulfate solubility. The ion activity product p(K)(Al)3(OH)6(SO4)2 compared favorably to the pKsp of alunite for the majority of displaced soil solutions. When pertinent soil-solution ion activities were expressed as a function of [pAl + 3pOH] and [pAl + pOH + pSO4], most soil solutions indicated apparent stability of solid-phase alunite. The possible existence of alunite in acid sulfate soils is compatible with mechanisms of sulfate retention by acid soils.

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