Iron oxides may undergo structural transformations when entering an anoxic environment. These transformations were investigated using the isotopic exchange between aqueous Fe(II) and iron oxides in experiments with 55Fe-labelled iron oxides. 55Fe was incorporated congruently into a ferrihydrite, two lepidocrocites (#1 and #2), synthesised at 10°C and 25°C, respectively, a goethite and a hematite. The iron oxides were then submerged in Fe2+ solutions (0-1.0 mM) with a pH of 6.5. In the presence of aqueous Fe2+, an immediate and very rapid release of 55Fe was observed from ferrihydrite, the two lepidocrocites and goethite, whereas in the absence of Fe2+ no release was observed. 55Fe was not released from hematite, even at the higher Fe2+ concentration. The release rate is mainly controlled by characteristics of the iron oxides, whereas the concentration of Fe2+ only has minor influence. Ferrihydrite and 5-nm-sized lepidocrocite crystals attained complete isotopic equilibration with aqueous Fe(II) within days. Within this timeframe ferrihydrite transformed completely into new and more stable phases such as lepidocrocite and goethite. Lepidocrocite #2 and goethite, having larger particles, did not reach isotopic equilibrium within the timeframe of the experiment; however, the continuous slow release of 55Fe suggests that isotopic equilibrium will ultimately be attained. Our results imply a recrystallization of solid Fe(III) phases induced by the catalytic action of aqueous Fe(II). Accordingly, iron oxides should properly be considered as dynamic phases that change composition when exposed to variable redox conditions. These results necessitate a reevaluation of current models for the release of trace metals under reducing conditions, the sequestration of heavy metals by iron oxides, and the significance of stable iron isotope signatures.
- Transforamtion of ironoxides
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer