Mine Water and the Environment

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 263–269 | Cite as

Dissolution Kinetics of Sulfate from Schwertmannite Under Variable pH Conditions

  • Susanta Paikaray
  • Stefan Peiffer
Technical Article


Sulfate mobilization was investigated under controlled laboratory conditions. Microbially synthesized schwertmannite (14.7 m2/g specific surface area with 4.7 Fe:S molar ratio) was interacted at room temperature for 4 months with aqueous solutions between pH 5 and 8. More than 50% of the solid-phase sulfate was released during the initial 2 months and the rate was positively influenced by pH due to the competition of hydroxyl ions for SO4 2−. More than 90% of the solid-phase sulfate was released within 4 months at pH 8. Infrared spectra demonstrate diminution and splitting of SO4 2− adsorption bands, indicating possible structural changes within the solid phase as a result of SO4 2− release. Transformation of schwertmannite to goethite was triggered by pH increase and was primarily responsible for the sulfate mobilization. Thus, schwertmannite that interacts with neutral to alkaline water can add significantly to the sulfate load of a stream.


Acidity generation Acid mine drainage Dissolution kinetics FTIR Pyrite oxidation Schwertmannite, schwertmannite transformation, sulfate pollution 



The work was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Geotechnologien program (BMBF, No-03G0714A).


  1. Bigham JM, Schwertmann U, Carlson L, Murad E (1990) A poorly crystallized oxyhydroxysulfate of iron formed by bacterial oxidation of Fe(II) in acid mine waters. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 54:2743–2758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Calabrese EJ, Gilbert CE, Pastides H (1989) Safe drinking water act: amendments, regulations, and standards. Lewis Publ, Chelsea, p 218Google Scholar
  3. Childs CW, Inoue K, Mizota C (1998) Natural and anthropogenic schwertmannites from Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Honshu, Japan. Chem Geol 144:81–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Friese K, Hupfer M, Schultze M (1998) Chemical characteristics of water and sediment in acid mining lakes of the Lusatian lignite district. In: Geller W, Klapper H, Salomons W (eds) Acidic Mining Lakes. Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg, pp 25–46Google Scholar
  5. Glombitza F, Janneck E, Arnold I, Rolland W, Uhlmann W (2007) Eisenhydroxisulfate aus der Bergbauwasserbehandlung als Rohstoff. Heft 110 der Schriftenreihe der GDMB, ISBN 3-935797-35-4, pp 31–40Google Scholar
  6. Houben GJ (2003) Iron incrustation in wells, 1.genesis, mineralogy and geochemistry. Appl Geochem 18:927–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Johnson DW, Cole DW (1977) Sulfate mobility in an outwash soil in western Washington. Water Air Soil Poll 7:489–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jönsson J, Persson P, Sjöberg S, Lovgren L (2005) Schwertmannite precipitated from acid mine drainage: phase transformation, sulfate release and surface properties. Appl Geochem 20:179–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kohfahl C, Pekdeger A (2004) Modelling the long-term release of sulfate from dump sediments of an abandoned open pit lignite mine. Mine Water Environ 23:12–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Murad E, Rojik P (2003) Iron-rich precipitates in a mine drainage environment: influence of pH on mineralogy. Ame Mineral 88:1915–1919Google Scholar
  11. Nyamadzawo G, Mapanda F, Myamugafata P, Wuta M, Nyamangara J (2007) Short-term impact of sulfate mine dump rehabilitation on the quality of the surrounding groundwater and river water in the Mazowe district, Zimbabwe. Phy Chem Earth 32:1376–1383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Parkhurst DL, Appelo CAJ (1999) User’s guide to PHREEQC (version 2)—a computer program for speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations. USGS WRI Rprt 99-4259, Washington DC, USA, p 312Google Scholar
  13. Regenspurg S, Peiffer S (2002) A FTIR spectroscopical study to explain bonding structures of arsenate and chromate associated with schwertmannite. In: Schulz HD, Hadeler A (eds) Geochemical processes in soil and groundwater. Wiley-VCH GmbH & Co. KGaA, pp. 78–91Google Scholar
  14. Rose S, Elliot WC (2000) The effects of pH regulation upon the release of sulfate from ferric precipitates formed in acid mine drainage. Appl Geochem 15:27–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rose S, Ghazi M (1997) Release of sorbed sulfate from iron oxyhydroxides precipitated from acid mine drainage associated with coal mining. Environ Sci Technol 31:2136–2140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schwertmann U, Carlson L (2005) The pH-dependent transformation of schwertmannite to goethite at 25 °C. Clay Min 40:63–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Stumm W, Morgan JJ (1996) Aquatic chemistry, 3rd edn. Wiley, New York City, p 1022Google Scholar
  18. Tabatabai MA (1974) A rapid method for determination of sulfate in water samples. Environ Let 7:237–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tamura H, Goto K, Yotsuyanagi T, Nagayama G (1974) Spectrophotometric determination of iron(II) with 1, 10-Phenanthroline in the presence of large amounts of iron(III). Talanta 21:314–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Toran L (1987) Sulfate contamination in groundwater in a carbonate-hosted mine. J Contam Hydrol 2:1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Valente TM, Gomes CL (2009) Occurrence, properties and pollution potential of environmental minerals in acid mine drainage. Sci Tot Environ 407:1135–1152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Winland RL, Traina SJ, Bigham JM (1991) Chemical composition of ochreous precipitates from Ohio coal mine drainage. J Environ Qual 20:452–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deptartment of HydrologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

Personalised recommendations