Experimental seawater-basalt interaction at 300°C, 500 bars, chemical exchange, secondary mineral formation and implications for the transport of heavy metals
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
- W.E. Seyfried Jr. and J.L. Bischoff
Seawater and NaCl solutions were reacted with basalt (basalt glass and diabase) for several months at 300°C, 500 bars and a water/rock ratio of 10.
During reaction, seawater was significantly modified, increasing in Ca, H2S, CO2. SiO2, K. Fe, Mn. Ba, Al and H+, and decreasing in Mg and SO4. Basalt glass was completely replaced by smectite, wairakite, anhydrite and hematite, and diabase was partially replaced by mixed layered smectite-chlorite, anhydrite and magnetite (?). Diabase was altered more slowly than basalt glass and the corresponding changes in seawater chemistry were less pronounced.
Basalt glass reacted with a 0.45 m NaCl solution resulted in the formation of smectite, albite. truscottite and wairakite. Solutions from this experiment were characterized by a relatively high pH and dominated by Ca for Na exchange reactions. At no point in this experiment were heavy metals solubilized, in contrast to the seawater experiments. This behavior illustrates the fundamental importance of seawater chemistry to heavy-metal solubility; that is, the removal of Mg from seawater generates acidity which maintains heavy metals in solution. Apparently seawater chlorinity is not capable of enhancing heavy-metal solubility by chloride complexing.
Seafloor heavy-metal deposits can result from the following:
- Seawater-basalt interaction at moderate temperature (∼-300°C and high effective water/rock ratios; or
- at relatively high temperatures (∼-400°C) and low (e.g.< 10) water/rock ratios.
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- Experimental seawater-basalt interaction at 300°C, 500 bars, chemical exchange, secondary mineral formation and implications for the transport of heavy metals
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- Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
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- 13 p.
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