The solubility of calcite and aragonite in seawater of 35%. salinity at 25°C and atmospheric pressure

John W. Morse, Alfonso Mucci, Frank J. Millero

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The solubilities of synthetic, natural and biogenic aragonite and calcite, in natural seawater of 35%. salinity at 25°C and 1 atm pressure, were measured using a closed system technique. Equilibration times ranged up to several months. The apparent solubility constant determined for calcite of 4.39(±0.20) × 10-7 mol2 kg-2 is in good agreement with other recent solubility measurements and is constant after 5 days equilibration. When we measured aragonite solubility we observed that it decreased with increasing time of equilibration. The value of 6.65(±0.12) × 10-7 mol2 kg-2, determined for equilibration times in excess of 2 months, is significantly less than that found in other recent measurements, which employed equilibration times of only a few hours to days. No statistically significant difference was found among the synthetic, natural and biogenic material. Solid to solution ratio, contamination of aragonite with up to 10 wt% calcite and recycling of the aragonite made no statistically significant difference in solubility when long equilibration times were used. Measured apparent solubility constants of aragonite and calcite are respectively 22( ± 3)% and 20( ± 2)% less than apparent solubility constants calculated from thermodynamic equilibrium constants and seawater total activity coefficients. These large differences in measured and calculated apparent solubility constants may be the result of the formation of surface layers of lower solubility than the bulk solid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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