Weathering processes and pickeringite formation in a sulfidic schist: A consideration in acid precipitation neutralization studies

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Extremely low abrasion pH values (2.8-3.3) characterize the weathering products of the Partridge Formation, a Middle-Ordovician metamorphosed, black, sulfidic shale. The local occurrence is observed of two sulfates that are rare in the Northeast: pickeringite and jarosite. X-ray diffraction studies of the weathering residues and the sulfate efflorescences have also identified dioctahedral and trioctahedral illite, kaolinite, vermiculite, and an 11-12 Å phase, thought to be a type of randomly-interstratified biotite-vermiculite. From the mineralogical studies, qualitative weathering processes for the schist are formulated. A probable mechanism for the intense chemical weathering of the schist appears to be oxidation of iron sulfides to form iron oxide-hydroxides, sulfates, and sulfuric acid. This natural weathering process is proposed as an analog to anthropogenic low pH rock weathering resulting from acid precipitation. In the Northeast, natural weathering rates, may, in places, significantly affect the water chemistry and mineralogy used to quantify total (natural plus anthropogenic) weathering and leaching rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-215
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1982


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Soil Science

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