Speciation calculations for aluminum, in water samples taken from a drainage basin containing acid mine waters, demonstrate a distinct transition from conservative behavior for pH. below 4.6 to nonconservative behavior for pH. above 4.9. This transition corresponds to the pK for the first hydrolysis constant of the aqueous aluminum ion and appears to be a consistent phenomenon independent of field location, ionic strength, and sulfate concentration. Nonconservative behavior is closely correlated with the equilibrium solubility of a microcrystalline gibbsite or amorphous aluminum hydroxide.
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The geochemical behavior of aluminum in acidified surface waters