Iron isotope fractionation during leaching of granite and basalt by hydrochloric and oxalic acids

  • Chapman J
  • Weiss D
  • Shan Y
 et al. 
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Transport of iron (Fe) within hydrothermal and soil environments involves the transferral into aqueous solutions by leaching of complex, polyminerallic rocks. Understanding the isotope fractionation mechanisms during this process is key for any application of the Fe-isotope system to biogeochemical studies. Here, we reacted biotite granite and tholeiite-basalt with 0.5 M hydrochloric acid and 5 mM oxalic acid solutions at ambient temperature. Solution aliquots were recovered over a seven-day period and analysed for major and trace element concentrations and Fe isotopic compositions. In all experiments, Fe initially released into solution was isotopically lighter, with Δ56Fesolution-rockas low as -1.80‰ in the granite-hydrochloric acid system. The oxalic acid experiments showed similar patterns but smaller fractionation. In all experiments, the Δ56Fesolution-rockreduced over time, which would be in line with the formation of a leached layer as proposed before [Brantley S. L., Liermann L. J., Guynn R. L., Anbar A., Icopini G. A., and Barling J. (2004) Fe isotopic fractionation during mineral dissolution with and without bacteria. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 68(15), 3189-3204]. Granite and basalts reacting with hydrochloric acid reached apparent steady-state values of -0.60 ± 0.15‰ and -0.40 ± 0.20‰, respectively, whilst experimental values with oxalic acid were -1.0 ± 0.15‰ and -0.50 ± 0.15‰. During the granite experiments, alteration of biotite to chlorite, followed by dissolution of chlorite, were likely the dominant processes, whilst in the basalt experiments, dissolution of pigeonite was likely the principal source of Fe. Variations in pH during the hydrochloric acid experiments were minimal, remaining below 0.5 at all times. In oxalic acid solutions, the pH increased to over 4, leading likely to precipitation of secondary minerals and adsorption/co-precipitation of Fe onto mineral surfaces. These processes could contribute to the greater fractionation observed in the final stages of the oxalic acid experiments. Our results highlight the importance of mineralogy and fluid composition on the Fe-isotope systematics during weathering. The fractionation processes identified for granites and basalts are in line with those inferred from field observations in soils, sediments, groundwater and hydrothermal deposits and from laboratory studies of single-mineral leaching. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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