Acid Rain and Geology Essay

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2130). The authors explain that some soil on forest floors have developed "efficient retention" of nitrogen, and that retention could be a result of "mycorrhizal assimilation" -- a process through which the soil seamlessly absorbs and incorporates nitrogen from acid rain into its organic composition.

The science involved in Kang's research is interesting: organic nitrogen is known to be produced in forest soils through "microbial assimilation" or "litter production"; it can be mineralized in the soil by microbes that produce "extracellular enzymes," Kang writes (2130). This enzymatic process is part of nutrient cycling and so if there are impediments to enzyme activity too much nitrogen could possibly be retained. What would an impediment do? Acid rain could become an impediment to normal cycling of enzymes, hence, resulting in the retention of too much nitrogen (Kang, 2130).

In Kang's conclusion, the author asserts that there are debates related to nutrient cycles in forest soils, some claiming that "elevated CO2… may not directly induce greater primary production due to nitrogen limitation…" (p. 2133).

Another article (Geochemical Comparison of Stream Water, Rain Water, and Watershed Geology in Central Korea) discusses the poor acid-neutralizing capacity of granite and how that affects the aquatic systems in the granite watershed in central Korea.

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The particular portion of central Korea called Chonju -- a "hilly to mountainous watershed" that is the focus of this research -- receives very little if any acid rain, authors Nakano and Jeon explain on page 739 of their scholarly article in Web of Science. The average pH in that district is pH: 6.2 (p. 740). However the water flowing down the stream -- in a granite watershed -- does have some acidity (6.4-6.7). In fact the watershed with granite as a bed has a "low concentration of calcium when compared with the stream water found running through sedimentary and volcanic rock watersheds," Nakano explains. That concentration of calcium is 6.8-7.6.

TOPIC: Essay on Acid Rain and Geology Acid Assignment

Given that the concentrations of calcium and strontium in the stream water do change due to the watershed geology at any particular time, the stream Sr.-87/Sr.-86 ratios are "…closer to the Sr.-87/Sr.-86 ratios of rain than to those of the substrate rocks," Nakano points out (p. 740). What does this suggest? The authors explain that the "selective but sluggish weathering" of the calcium-rich minerals in the streambed tend to neutralize the acid.

There are trace metals in the water found in Chonju (As, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pb) are found to be lower than those trace metals in the rain that falls in the stream and hence, the belief is that the metals are "less dependent on the watershed geology," Nakano continues. This suggests that the metals originated in the atmosphere (acid rain being the likely culprit in this case). The findings from Nakano and colleague are consistent with the stream water containing Pb isotope rations "…close to that of rain but distinct from that of the rocks" (p. 740).

The bottom line here in this research is that the soil pool of "exchangeable ions dominantly contains atmospherically derived heavy metals" and those heavy metals then flow into the streams of Chonju. The likelihood is that because granite is not a good neutralizer of acids, the aquatic systems in the granite watershed are particularly sensitive to atmospheric acidification.

Conclusion: While a great deal is known about what acid rain does to forests and rivers, here is much to be learned about the relationship between acid rain and geology.

Works Cited

Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). What is Acid Rain? / Effects of Acid Rain.

Retrieved March 7, 2011, from http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/what/index.html.

Kang, Hojeong, and Lee, Dowon. (2005). Inhibition of Extracellular Enzyme Activities in a Forest Soil by Additions of Inorganic Nitrogen. Communications in Soil Science and Plant

Analysis. Vol. 36, 2129-2135.

Nakano, T. And Jeon, SR. (2001). Geochemical Comparison of Stream Water, Rain Water, and Watershed Geology in Central Korea. Web of Science, 130(1-4), 739-744.

Rana, S.V.S. (2006). Environmental Pollution:… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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