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By Virginia T McLemore; Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (U.S.)

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According to Nordstrom © 2008 by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. All rights reserved. Electronic edition published 2009. FACTORS THAT CONTROL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS 39 (1982) and Cravotta (1994), these efflorescent salts are highly soluble and provide an instantaneous source of acidic water upon dissolution and hydrolysis. They are partially responsible for increased acidity and metals loadings in the receiving environment during rain events and periods of high rates of snow melting.

They are partially responsible for increased acidity and metals loadings in the receiving environment during rain events and periods of high rates of snow melting. Their cumulative storage and incremental release can help explain the lag from mine waste placement to AD formation, particularly in arid climates. In most rock–water systems, the primary acid-consuming minerals are the carbonates, including calcite (CaCO3) and dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2] (appendix, Equations 28–31), and less commonly magnesite (MgCO3).

The measurement of pH at a glass electrode, however, is related to the hydrogen ion activity, not concentration. Activity is not the same as concentration but is the effective concentration as defined by the chemical potential of a dissolved element. In dilute waters where interactions between ionic species are minimal, the activity of a dissolved element approximates its concentration, making measurement of pH at a glass electrode a useful tool. In concentrated solutions, such as seawater and brines, activity is a function of the charge of the dissolved element and the ionic strength of the solution.

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