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Atmospheric processing of volcanic glass: effects on iron solubility and redox speciation
Maters, E.C.; Delmelle, P.; Bonneville, S. (2016). Atmospheric processing of volcanic glass: effects on iron solubility and redox speciation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 50(10): 5033-5040.
In: Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society: Easton. ISSN 0013-936X; e-ISSN 1520-5851, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Maters, E.C., more
  • Delmelle, P., more
  • Bonneville, S., more

    Volcanic ash from explosive eruptions can provide iron (Fe) to oceanic regions where this micronutrient limits primary production. Controls on the soluble Fe fraction in ash remain poorly understood but Fe solubility is likely influenced during atmospheric transport by condensation-evaporation cycles which induce large pH fluctuations. Using glass powder as surrogate for ash, we experimentally simulate its atmospheric processing via cycles of pH 2 and 5 exposure. Glass fractional Fe solubility (maximum 0.4%) is governed by the pH 2 exposure duration rather than by the pH fluctuations, however; pH 5 exposure induces precipitation of Fe-bearing nanoparticles which (re)dissolve at pH 2. Glass leaching/dissolution release Fe(II) and Fe(III) which are differentially affected by changes in pH; the average dissolved Fe(II)/Fetot ratio is ∼0.09 at pH 2 versus ∼0.18 at pH 5. Iron release at pH 2 from glass with a relatively high bulk Fe(II)/Fetot ratio (0.5), limited aqueous Fe(II) oxidation at pH 5, and possibly glass-mediated aqueous Fe(III) reduction may render atmospherically processed ash a significant source of Fe(II) for phytoplankton. By providing new insight into the form(s) of Fe associated with ash as wet aerosol versus cloud droplet, we improve knowledge of atmospheric controls on volcanogenic Fe delivery to the ocean.

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