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Buffering an Acidic Stream in New Hampshire with a Silicate Mineral

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Abstract

Ground and pelletized Wollastonite (Wo; CaSiO3) was added to a 50-m reach of an anthropogenically acidified stream within the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, to evaluate its buffering and restoration potential. The Wo was highly effective in raising the pH, acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and Ca2+ concentrations of the stream water, but during the short duration of the experiment had no discernable effect on the stream biota. After initial, spike-like fluctuations in pH and concentrations of ANC, DIC, and Ca2+, the relatively slow dissolution rates of the Wo dampened extreme concentrations and contributed to relatively long-lasting (4 months) amelioration of streamwater acidity. Changes in concentrations of Ca2+, dissolved Si, ANC, and DIC were inversely related to streamflow. After several high, stream-discharge events, concentrations quickly and consistently returned to pre-event conditions.

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