Negative pH and extremely acidic mine waters from Iron Mountain, California

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Extremely acidic mine waters with pH values as low as -3.6, total dissolved metal concentrations as high as 200 g/L, and sulfate concentrations as high as 760 g/L, have been encountered underground in the Richmond Mine at Iron Mountain, CA. These are the most acidic waters known. The pH measurements were obtained by using the Pitzer method to define pH for calibration of glass membrane electrodes. The calibration of pH below 0.5 with glass membrane electrodes becomes strongly nonlinear but is reproducible to a pH as low as -4. Numerous efflorescent minerals were found forming from these acid waters. These extreme acid waters were formed primarily by pyrite oxidation and concentration by evaporation with minor effects from aqueous ferrous iron oxidation and efflorescent mineral formation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Negative pH and extremely acidic mine waters from Iron Mountain, California
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/es990646v
Volume 34
Issue 2
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher ACS
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 5 p.
First page 254
Last page 258
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