In acid-mine drainage and acid-sulfate soil environments, the cycling of Fe and As are often linked to the formation and fate of schwertmannite (Fe8O8(OH)8−2x(SO4)x). When schwertmannite-rich material is subjected to near-neutral Fe(III)-reducing conditions (e.g., in reflooded acid-sulfate soils or mining-lake sediments), the resulting Fe(II) can catalyze transformation of schwertmannite to goethite. This work examines the effects of arsenic(V) and arsenic(III) on the Fe(II)-catalyzed transformation of schwertmannite and investigates the associated consequences of this mineral transformation for arsenic mobilization. A series of 9-day anoxic transformation experiments were conducted with synthetic schwertmannite and various additions of Fe(II), As(III), and As(V). X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fe K-edge extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy demonstrated that, in the absence of Fe(II), schwertmannite persisted as the dominant mineral phase. Under arsenic-free conditions, 10 mM Fe(II) catalyzed rapid and complete transformation of schwertmannite to goethite. However, the magnitude of Fe(II)-catalyzed transformation decreased to 72% in the presence of 1 mM As(III) and to only 6% in the presence of 1 mM As(V). This partial Fe(II)-catalyzed transformation of As(III)-sorbed schwertmannite did not cause considerable As(III) desorption. In contrast, the formation of goethite via partial transformation of As(III)- and As(V)-sorbed schwertmannite significantly decreased arsenic mobilization under Fe(III)-reducing conditions. This implies that the Fe(II)-catalyzed transformation of schwertmannite to goethite may help to stabilize solid-phase arsenic and retard its subsequent release to groundwater.
Burton, ED, Johnston, SG, Watling, KM, Bush, RT, Keene, AF & Sullivan, LA 2010, 'Arsenic effects and behavior in association with the Fe(II)-catalysed transformation of schwertmannite', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 2016-2021.
Publisher's version of article available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es903424h