The solubility of quartz in water in the temperature interval from 25° to 300° C

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
By: , and 



The solubility of quartz in water was investigated by three sets of experiments

  1. at 1000 atm PH2O and temperatures ranging from 45° to 300°C
  2. at water pressures appropriate for the coexistence of three phases, gaseous water, liquid, and quartz, at temperatures ranging from 69° to 240°C
  3. a long term study of the dissolution of quartz grains which were continuously tumbled in water at room temperature.

Saturated silica solutions in equilibrium with quartz were obtained in a few days at temperatures above 100°C. Equilibrium is shown by reproducible results for runs of different durations and by the precipitation of quartz from initially supersaturated solutions. The differential heat of solution derived from the data obtained at 1000 atm pressure is 5.38 kcal/mole.

At room temperature and pressure, highly supersaturated silica solutions were obtained by continuously rotating quartz grains and water in plastic bottles at 75 rev/min. In one run the amount of silica in solution increased to a maximum value of 395 p.p.m. after 370 days. Another run reached 80 p.p.m. silica after 386 days and then dropped to 6 p.p.m. silica. It is concluded that quartz was precipitated at room temperature from this supersaturated solution and that 6 p.p.m. is essentially the true solubility of quartz at 25°C.

In contrast to the runs rotated at 75 rev/min, quartz grains, and also silica glass grains, continuously rotated in water at rev/min, each contributed less than 1 p.p.m. colorimetric silica into solution after 1 year. Thus, vigorous agitation of the liquid is necessary to remove dissolved silica from the vicinity of surfaces of both quartz and glass.

Two significant factors that may have contributed to the formation of supersaturated silica solutions in the runs rotated at 75 rev/min at room temperature are

  1. stresses and structural irregularities at the surfaces of the crushed quartz grains, which contributed silica into solution more readily than well crystallized quartz
  2. the very slow rate at which dissolved silica polymerizes to species appropriate to act as nuclei for quartz growth. At the termination of the runs rotated at 75 rev/min, spikelike projections were present on many of the quartz grains. These are interpreted as indicating that abrasion was not the dominant cause for the great supersaturations which were obtained.


Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The solubility of quartz in water in the temperature interval from 25° to 300° C
Series title Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
DOI 10.1016/0016-7037(62)90027-3
Volume 26
Issue 10
Year Published 1962
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Description 12 p.
First page 1029
Last page 1040
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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