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Surface complexation effects on phosphate adsorption to ferric iron oxyhydroxides along pH and salinity gradients in estuaries and coastal aquifers
Spiteri, C.; Van Cappellen, P.; Regnier, P. (2008). Surface complexation effects on phosphate adsorption to ferric iron oxyhydroxides along pH and salinity gradients in estuaries and coastal aquifers. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 72(14): 3431-3445. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2008.05.003
In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier: Oxford,New York etc.. ISSN 0016-7037, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 229720 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Marine; Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • Spiteri, C., more
  • Van Cappellen, P.
  • Regnier, P., more

Abstract
    Non-conservative behavior of dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP) in estuaries is generally ascribed to desorption from iron and aluminum (hydr)oxides with increasing salinity. Here, we assess this hypothesis by simulating the reversible adsorption of phosphate onto a model oxide (goethite) along physico-chemical gradients representative of surface and subsurface estuaries. The simulations are carried out using a surface complexation model (SCM), which represents the main aqueous speciation and adsorption reactions of DIP, plus the ionic strength-dependent coulombic interactions in solution and at the mineral–solution interface. According to the model calculations, variations in pH and salinity alone are unlikely to explain the often reported production of DIP in surface estuaries. In particular, increased aqueous complexation of phosphate by Mg2+ and Ca2+ ions with increasing salinity is offset by the formation of ternary Mg-phosphate surface complexes and the drop in electrical potential at the mineral–water interface. However, when taking into account the downstream decrease in the abundance of sorption sites, the model correctly simulates the observed release of DIP in the Scheldt estuary. The sharp increase in pH accompanying the admixing of seawater to fresh groundwater should also cause desorption of phosphate from iron oxyhydroxides during seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers. As for surface estuaries, the model calculations indicate that significant DIP release additionally requires a reduction in the phosphate sorption site density. In anoxic aquifers, this can result from the supply of seawater sulfate and the subsequent reductive dissolution of iron oxyhydroxides coupled to microbial sulfate reduction.

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