Main content area

Diel cycles in calcite production and dissolution in a eutrophic basin

Cicerone,, Daniel S., Stewart, Arthur J., Roh, Yul
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 1999 v.18 no.10 pp. 2169-2177
adsorption, barium, basins, cadmium, calcite, carbon dioxide, eutrophication, laboratory experimentation, lakes, monitoring, nickel, nutrient availability, pH, photosynthesis, sediments, solar radiation, strontium, thermodynamics, trophic relationships, water quality, zinc, Tennessee
Calcite production is understood largely as a longer—term phenomenon (e.g., seasonal whitings) that can occur in hardwater lakes, and is significant ecologically because it can slow the rate of eutrophication by reducing, through adsorption, the availability of nutrients to primary producers. In this study we show that rapid changes in concentration of dissolved CO₂ by photosynthesis and respiration within a eutrophic basin generated strong day—to‐night cycles in calcite production and dissolution. Diel cycles in calcite production and dissolution were large enough that they could drive secondary diel cycles in the availability of metals that strongly sorb to the surfaces of calcite particles. We explored the possibility of the secondary diel cycling of metals by intensive 7‐d in situ monitoring of water—quality conditions in a shallow, eutrophic spill—control basin near an industrial facility in eastern Tennessee; inspecting data from a 7‐year record of water—quality parameters for this basin; analyzing physicochemical characteristics and mineralogic composition of sediments in the basin; and conducting laboratory experiments to characterize the interaction of calcite with Cd, under solid—liquid nonequilibrium conditions. We found that the basin accumulated and stored calcite. In situ monitoring showed that calcite was produced during daylight, and tended to dissolve again at night; the calcite production and dissolution processes seemed to be modulated by dissolved—phase CO₂ dynamics, in concert with large diel fluctuations in pCa, pH, and PO₂. Laboratory experiments showed a rapid interaction (<6 h) of Cd with calcite, in response to dissolved CO₂ changes. Thus, concentrations of dissolved Cd can vary over daily cycles, mediated by diel changes in calcite production and dissolution. Thermodynamic considerations suggest that other metals, such as Zn, Sr, Ni, and Ba, may demonstrate this behavior as well.