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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Environmental Geochemistry Group - Prof. Dr. Britta Planer-Friedrich

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Master Thesis

Carbon dioxide triggered metal(loid) mobilisation in a mofette

Judith Forberg (08/2012-10/2013)

Support: Britta Planer-Friedrich

Naturally occurring CO2 exhalations like mofettes are well suited to study long-term e ffects of enhanced CO2 concentrations on soil. CO2-triggered acidi cation is expected to increase the mobility of potentially toxic trace elements by inducing desorption or mineral dissolution. The hypothesis of a CO2-triggered mobilisation was tested for Fe, As, Pb, Mn, Ni and Cu on a mofette site in the Czech Republic. Depth profi les of redox potential, pH, organic carbon, dissolved methane and CO2 concentrations of two mofettes and two CO2-unaff ected references were determined. Total trace element concentrations in soil and pore water were analysed using ICP-MS, As speciation was determined by IC-ICP-MS. Fractionation of the metal(loid)s was speci fied by sequential extraction. Fe (hydr)oxides, the preferred sorbent in CO2-una ffected soils, were reduced to only 15 % of the original amount in the mofettes, indicating dissolution due to low pH (4.9) and redox potential (300 +/- 40 mV). Besides Fe mobilisation, this resulted in the release of all associated trace elements. Pore water concentrations of As and Pb were increased by a factor of 2.3 and 2.5, respectively, in the mofettes. Profi t from desorption of other ions by resorption to organic matter (increased by a factor of 3.2 in mofettes) and other soil constituents caused a net-immobilisation of Mn, Ni and Cu, whose pore water concentrations were 72 %, 53 % and 39 %, respectively in the mofette compared to concentrations in the reference. The mobilisation of toxic elements (As, Pb) and the net-immobilisation of essential micro-nutrients (Mn, Ni, Cu) constitute serious risks of increased CO2 soil concentrations as they can occur from leaking carbon sequestration sites.

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