Methods are described for developing geochemical reaction models from the observed chemical compositions of ground water along a hydrologic flow path. The roles of thermodynamic speciation programs, mass balance calculations, and reaction-path simulations in developing and testing reaction models are contrasted. Electron transfer is included in the mass balance equations to properly account for redox reactions in ground water. The mass balance calculations determine net mass transfer models which must be checked against the thermodynamic calculations of speciation and reaction-path programs. Although reaction-path simulations of ground-water chemistry are thermodynamically valid, they must be checked against the net mass transfer defined by the mass balance calculations. An example is given testing multiple reaction hypotheses along a flow path in the Floridan aquifer where several reaction models are eliminated. Use of carbon and sulfur isotopic data with mass balance calculations indicates a net reaction of incongruent dissolution of dolomite (dolomite dissolution with calcite precipitation) driven irreversibly by gypsum dissolution, accompanied by minor sulfate reduction, ferric hydroxide dissolution, and pyrite precipitation in central Florida. Along the flow path, the aquifer appears to be open to CO2 initially, and open to organic carbon at more distant points down gradient. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
Development of reaction models for ground-water systems