Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 65-74

First online:

Geochemical controls on a calcite precipitating spring

  • Roger L. JacobsonAffiliated withSedimentpetrographisches Institut der Universität Göttingen
  • , Eberhard UsdowskiAffiliated withSedimentpetrographisches Institut der Universität Göttingen

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A small spring fed stream was found to precipitate calcite by mainly inorganic processes and in a nonuniform manner. The spring water originated by rainwater falling in a 0.8 km2 basin, infiltrating, and dissolving calcite and dolomite followed by dissolution of gypsum or anhydrite. The Ca2+/Mg2+ indicates that calcite is probably precipitated in the subsurface from a supersaturated solution. This water emerges from the spring still about 5 times supersaturated with respect to calcite and continues calcite precipitation. When 10 times supersaturation is reached, due to CO2 degassing the precipitation is more rapid. The calcite accumulation from the stream with a flow of 5 l/s is calculated to be 12600 kg/yr with the highest rates in areas where CO2 degassing is the greatest. The non-equilibrium, as shown by the high calcite supersaturation, is also reflected in a variable partitioning pattern for Sr2+ between the water and calcite.