Dissolution of wollastonite during the experimental manipulation of Hubbard Brook Watershed 1
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Powdered and pelletized wollastonite (CaSiO3) was applied to an 11.8 ha forested watershed at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in northern New Hampshire, U.S.A. during October of 1999. The dissolution of wollastonite was studied using watershed solute mass balances, and a 87Sr/86Sr isotopic tracer. The wollastonite (87Sr/86Sr = 0.70554) that was deposited directly into the stream channel began to dissolve immediately, resulting in marked increases in stream water Ca concentrations and decreases in the 87Sr/86Sr ratios from pre-application values of 0.872 mg/L and 0.72032 to values of ∼2.6 mg/L and 0.71818 respectively. After one calendar year, 401 kg of the initial 631 kg of wollastonite applied to the stream channel was exported as stream dissolved load, and 230 kg remained within the stream channel as residual CaSiO3 and/or adsorbed on streambed exchange sites. Using previously established values for streambed Ca exchange capacity at the HBEF, the dissolution rate for wollastonite was found to be consistent with dissolution rates measured in laboratory experiments. Initially, Ca was released from the mineral lattice faster than Si, resulting in the development of a Ca-depleted leached layer on mineral grains. The degree of preferential Ca release decreased with time and reached stoichiometric proportions after ∼6 months. Using Sr as a proxy for Ca, the Ca from wollastonite dissolution can be accurately tracked as it is transported through the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of this watershed.
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