Abstract

A survey of the surface-area-normalized dissolution rates of major phosphate bearing minerals shows these rates to vary by >8 orders of magnitude with a general dissolution-rate trend sturvite > britholite ~ fluoroapatite > variscite > monazite ~ rhabdophane. This trend reflects the relative strength of the metal-oxygen bonds holding together the phosphate tetrahedra in the mineral structure. Due to the high surface-area-normalized reactivity of fluoroapatite, and the high surface area of natural variscite and rhabdophane, it seems likely that these minerals buffer the concentration of P and the rare-earth elements in many natural waters. As such, the solubility of these minerals plays a significant role in the global phosphorus cycle, and may potentially provide clues for future sustainable phosphorus use.

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