The effect of temperature on experimental and natural chemical weathering rates of granitoid rocks

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

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DOI: 10.1016/S0016-7037(99)00250-1



The effects of climatic temperature variations (5-35??C) on chemical weathering are investigated both experimentally using flow-through columns containing fresh and weathered granitoid rocks and for natural granitoid weathering in watersheds based on annual solute discharge. Although experimental Na and Si effluent concentrations are significantly higher in the fresh relative to the weathered granitoids, the proportional increases in concentration with increasing temperature are similar. Si and Na exhibit comparable average apparent activation energies (E(a)) of 56 and 61 kJ/mol, respectively, which are similar to those reported for experimental feldspar dissolution measured over larger temperature ranges. A coupled temperature-precipitation model, using an expanded database for solute discharge fluxes from a global distribution of 86 granitoid watersheds, produces an apparent activation energy for Si (51 kJ/mol), which is also comparable to those derived from the experimental study. This correlation reinforces evidence that temperature does significantly impact natural silicate weathering rates. Effluent K concentrations in the column study are elevated with respect to other cations compared to watershed discharge due to the rapid oxidation/dissolution of biotite. K concentrations are less sensitive to temperature, resulting in a lower average E(a) value (27 kJ/mol) indicative of K loss from lower energy interlayer sites in biotite. At lower temperatures, initial cation release from biotite is significantly faster than cation release from plagioclase. This agrees with reported higher K/Na ratios in cold glacial watersheds relative to warmer temperate environments. Increased release of less radiogenic Sr from plagioclase relative to biotite at increasing temperature produces corresponding decreases in 87Sr/86Sr ratios in the column effluents. A simple mixing calculation using effluent K/Na ratios, Sr concentrations and 87Sr/86Sr ratios for biotite and plagioclase approximates stoichiometric cation ratios from biotite/plagioclase dissolution at warmer temperatures (35??C), but progressively overestimates the relative proportion of biotite with decreasing temperature. Ca, Mg, and Sr concentrations closely correlate, exhibit no consistent trends with temperature, and are controlled by trace amounts of calcite or exchange within weathered biotite. The inability of the watershed model to differentiate a climate signal for such species correlates with the lower temperature dependence observed in the experimental studies.

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The effect of temperature on experimental and natural chemical weathering rates of granitoid rocks
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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
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