Cu(II) adsorption at the calcite-water interface in the presence of natural organic matter: Kinetic studies and molecular-scale characterization

Young Jae Lee, Evert J. Elzinga, Richard J. Reeder

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We have characterized the adsorption of Suwannee River humic acid (SRHA) and Cu(II) on calcite from preequilibrated solutions at pH 8.25. Sorption isotherms of SRHA on calcite follow Langmuir-type behavior at SRHA concentrations less than 15 mg C L-1, whereas non-Langmuirian uptake becomes evident at concentrations greater than 15 mg C L-1. The adsorption of SRHA on calcite is rapid and mostly irreversible, with corresponding changes in electrostatic properties. At pH 8.25, Cu(II) uptake by calcite in the presence of dissolved SRHA decreases with increasing dissolved SRHA concentration, suggesting that formation of Cu-SRHA aqueous complexes is the primary factor controlling Cu(II) sorption at the calcite surface under the conditions of our experiments. We also observed that surface-bound SRHA has little influence on Cu(II) uptake by calcite, suggesting that Cu(II) coordinates to calcite surface sites rather than to surface-bound SRHA. Cu K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine-structure (EXAFS) spectroscopic results show that the local coordination of Cu adsorbed at the calcite surface is very similar in the presence and absence of SRHA. Ca backscatterers at ∼3.90 Å indicate that Cu(II) forms tetragonally distorted inner-sphere adsorption complexes in both binary and ternary systems. Subtle differences in the XANES and EXAFS between binary sorption samples and ternary sorption samples, however, prevent us from ruling out the formation of ternary Cu-SRHA surface complexes. Our findings demonstrate that SRHA plays an important role in controlling the fate and transport of Cu(II) in calcite-bearing systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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