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Dividing Line

Why has the creek turned acidic?

The amount of acid produced is a function of the amount of total sulfur contained within the rock. Rocks with less than one percent sulfur (by weight) generally do not produce acid because most of this sulfur is contained as organic sulfur (combined with carbon), not pyritic sulfur (combined with iron). By contrast, rocks with more than one weight percent sulfur generally do produce acid because more of this sulfur is in the form of pyrite.

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Page last revised: November 10, 2005


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