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Carbonation

  • By: John F. Shroder
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Carbonation is the chemical reaction that occurs when the mineral calcite, or calcium carbonate (CaCO3), comes in contact with an acid. In the natural environment, where rotting organic matter occurs in soils, the soil water reacts with the carbon dioxide from the organic matter to produce carbonic acid:

In turn, the weak carbonic acid that is produced then disassociates or comes apart into smaller atomic particles and compounds:

These materials can react in turn with the calcium carbonate. In this case, the hydrogen ion, H+, is a proton, which is an extremely small particle from the hydrogen nucleus that can work its way into many mineral particles and disrupt them. In the case of the disruption of the solid calcium carbonate mineral or the limestone bedrock, the ...

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