, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 853-862
Date: 09 Oct 2007

Chemical weathering of granite under acid rainfall environment, Korea

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Abstract

Chemical weathering was investigated by collecting samples from five selected weathering profiles in a high elevation granitic environment located in Seoul, Korea. The overall changes of chemistry and mineralogical textures were examined reflecting weathering degrees of the samples, using polarization microscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), electron probe micro analysis (EPMA), X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), and inductively coupled plasma–mass spectroscopy (ICP–MS). The chemical distribution in the weathering profiles shows that few trace elements are slightly immobile, whereas most major (particularly Ca and Na) and trace elements are mobile from the beginning of the granite weathering. On the other hand, there were mineralogical changes initiated from a plagioclase breakdown, which shows a characteristic circular dissolved pattern caused by a preferential leaching of Ca cation along grain boundaries and zoning. The biotite in that region is also supposed to be sensitive to exterior environmental condition and may be easily dissolved by acidic percolated water. As a result, it seems that some rock-forming minerals in the granitic rock located in Seoul are significantly unstable due to the environmental condition of acidic rainfall and steep slopes, where they are susceptible to be dissolved incongruently leading some elements to be highly depleted.