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Geochemistry of unsaturated soil systems: Aqueous speciation and solubility of minerals and gases in capillary solutions

Abstract : It has been shown that the capillary state of aqueous solutions in the unsaturated zone (UZ) modifies chemical equilibria due to the decreasing capillary pressure of the whole system (isobaric scenario) or of the aqueous phase only (anisobaric scenario). Meanwhile, the role of salinity in capillary solutions has not been explicitly taken into account up to now, at least not in a manner independent to capillarity. A consistent way to do so is considered in this paper by calculating activity coefficients as a function of capillary pressure through the extrapolation of the Davies model. The integrated approach thus defined is applied to the interpretation of some laboratory experiments (taken from the literature) carried out under different capillary conditions. Calculations and measurements of the boehmite ↔ bayerite hydration equilibrium in an atmosphere of varying humidity agree very satisfactorily if the anisobaric scenario is selected. The solubility of reactive gases O2 and CO2 is found to increase in the pore water when the relative humidity decreases. Consequently, and in agreement with experimental measurements, the extent of the pyrite oxidation depends on the relative humidity. The proposed model refines the manner with which chemical equilibria and mineralogical assemblies may be interpreted. In particular, the different scenarios that may be envisioned (isobaric, anisobaric and dual) are considered in the light of the possible modes of precipitation of the minerals (precipitation within the capillary solution, epitaxial type precipitation). Finally, it should be noted that the geochemical approach proposed here for the UZ fully ties in with and conforms to the methods used in the water-saturated zone (SZ).
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Soumis le : jeudi 18 août 2022 - 16:43:17
Dernière modification le : vendredi 19 août 2022 - 03:26:55

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Arnault Lassin, Mohamed Azaroual, Lionel Mercury. Geochemistry of unsaturated soil systems: Aqueous speciation and solubility of minerals and gases in capillary solutions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2005, 69 (22), pp.5187-5201. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2005.05.020⟩. ⟨hal-03753760⟩

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