CO2 and sulfuric acid controls of weathering and river water composition

A. Lerman*, L. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Reactions of CO2 with carbonate and silicate minerals in continental sediments and upper part of the crystalline crust produce HCO3- in river and ground waters. H2 SO4 formed by the oxidation of pyrite and reacting with carbonates may produce CO2 or HCO3-. The ratio, ψ, of atmospheric or soil CO2 consumed in weathering to HCO3- produced depends on the mix of CO2 and H2SO4, and the proportions of the carbonates and silicates in the source rock. An average sediment has a CO2 uptake potential of ψ = 0.61. The potential increases by inclusion of the crystalline crust in the weathering source rock. A mineral dissolution model for an average river gives ψ = 0.68 to 0.72 that is within the range of ψ = 0.63 to 0.75, reported by other investigators using other methods. These results translate into the CO2 weathering flux of 20 to 24 × 1012 mol/yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-430
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
Issue number1-3 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Carbon dioxide consumption
  • Dissolved carbonate production
  • Mineral weathering
  • Pyrite oxidation
  • River water composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology


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