In their discussion of our paper on the mechanism of pressure solution (Sheldon et al. 2003), Walderhaug et al. (2003), hereafter referred to as WOB, raise some interesting points that merit a reply. Our paper describes two alternative hypotheses regarding the mechanism of chemical compaction, also known as pressure solution, and sets out to evaluate them on the basis of thermodynamic principles. The first model, which we support, invokes the inhomogeneous distribution of normal stress over grain surfaces to provide a driving force for chemical compaction. This results in a persistent gradient in chemical potential between grain contacts...

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