The SALT NORM : a quantitative chemical-mineralogical characterization of natural waters

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4086




The new computer program SNORM calculates the salt norm from the chemical composition of a natural water. The salt norm is the quantitative ideal equilibrium assemblage that would crystallize if the water evaporated to dryness at 25 C and 1 bar pressure under atmospheric partial pressure of CO2. SNORM proportions solute concentrations to achieve charge balance. It quantitatively distributes the 18 acceptable solutes into normative salts that are assigned from 63 possible normative salts to allow only stable associations based on the Gibbs Phase Rule, available free energy values, and observed low-temperature mineral associations. Although most natural water compositions represent multiple solute origins, results from SNORM identify three major categories: meteoric or weathering waters that are characterized by normative alkali-bearing sulfate and carbonate salts: connate marine-like waters that are chloride-rich with a halite-bischofite-carnallite-kieserite-anhydrite association; and diagenetic waters that are frequently of marine origin but yield normative salts, such as Ca-bearing chlorides (antarcticite and tachyhydrite) and sylvite, which suggest solute alteration by secondary mineral reactions. The solute source or reaction process within each of the above categories is commonly indicated by the presence or absence of diagnostic normative salts and their relative abundance in the normative salt assemblage. For example, salt norms: (1) may identify lithologic source; (2) may identify the relative roles of carbonic and sulfuric acid hydrolysis in the evolution of weathering waters; (3) may identify the origin of connate water from normal marine, hypersaline, or evaporite salt resolution processes; and (4) may distinguish between dolomitization and silicate hydrolysis or exchange for the origin of diagenetic waters. (Author 's abstract)

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The SALT NORM : a quantitative chemical-mineralogical characterization of natural waters
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
vi, 130 p. :ill. ;28 cm.