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The long-term chemical composition of sea water is controlled by the generalized reaction: primary igneous rock minerals + water + acid volatiles = sediments + oceans + atmosphere. Unstable crustal minerals are weathered by water and acid volatiles, and local equilibrium between the products of the reaction—oceanic sediments; sea water and the atmosphere—is closely approached.

To obtain a better picture of the evolution of the oceans as this reaction proceeds (minerals formed, mass transfers involved, changes in sea water, composition), we simulated with a model calculation on a high-speed computer the irreversible attack of “average igneous rock” by water...

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