Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2007


Published in GREAT PLAINS RESEARCH 17:1 pages 17-33 (Spring 2007). Copyright © 2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


The acid weathering of pyrite-bearing Pennsylvanian clastic sedimentary rocks in southeastern Nebraska locally produces the secondary sulfate minerals alunogen, copiapite, epsomite, felsobanyaite/basaluminite, gypsum, halotrichite, jarosite, rozenite, and slavikite. Of these mineral occurrences, four are first-time discoveries in the state or the surrounding region. Slavikite (NaMg2Fe5 (S04)7 (OH) 6• 33H20), which has been reported only once before in North America and from a handful of sites in Europe and South America, was found in abundance at an outcrop at Brownville, NE. The pH values in 1:1 solutions of deionized water of the studied minerals, excluding epsomite, range from 1.94 to 4.82. Therefore, segregations of secondary minerals in themselves are significant microenvironmental reservoirs of acid that can be mobilized during precipitation events. Because of its role in liberating and concentrating ions such as Al3+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Mg3+, and SO42-, acid rock weathering should be considered in local to regional assessments of surface-water and groundwater chemistry. Observations also suggest that rock weathering by the growth of sulfate salts is a potential factor in local hillslope development, one that has not previously been considered in the study area.