Geochemistry

Monitoring the mineral-water interface

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Science  31 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6209, pp. 597
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6209.597-b

At a microscopic level, mineral-water interfaces are vast, ever-changing landscapes. Individually, these interfaces have a trivial influence on the environment, but on a global scale they help drive important geochemical reactions such as the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere during chemical weathering. Siebecker et al. used fast-resolved x-ray absorption spectroscopy to monitor real-time mineral growth and dissolution on Al-rich pyrophyllite clay in a flowing Ni-rich solution. Not only did precipitation of mixed Ni-Al layered hydroxides occur on extremely fast time scales, but it occurred as a consequence of the rapid release of Al from the simultaneously dissolving pyrophyllite.

Nat. Comm. 10.1038/ncomms6003 (2014).

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