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Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?

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avatar What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
December 31, 2009 10:15PM
I've been curious about Soda Springs but had never come across anything that explains this natural phenomenon. Curiosity (and some indoor time) got the better of me.

I looked through most of my Yosemite books, and did some searching online, and this is the sum of what I've come up with:

"High pressure underground causes carbon dioxide to dissolve into Soda Springs’ waters, resulting in natural carbonation. Snow melt from higher elevations then forces the water to the surface."

Any comments? Does anyone know this to be true, or know/think it to be false?
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 02:59AM
That sounds about right to me.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 05:41AM
Ah, but where does the CO2 come from?



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 05:47AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Ah, but where does the CO2 come from?

winking smiley

By the way, I like your quote Frank.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 08:30AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Ah, but where does the CO2 come from?

See the mechanisms enumerated here:
http://www.oregongeology.com/sub/publications/OG/OBv21n11.pdf

Also of interest:
http://pagesperso-orange.fr/mhalb/nyos/disaster/phenomenon.htm

As an aside, “Better Living Through Chemistry” (remember, the old Monsanto slogan):
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3904475
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 10:15AM
Thanks Frank. Interesting stuff.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 04:08PM
Quote
sierranomad
Thanks Frank. Interesting stuff.
Credit goes to skalkowski.

There is a little more CO2 info at this discussion
<http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,19964,20085#msg-20085>;



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 04:18PM
Ooops! My mistake. Thanks for the links Len.

If I'm understanding your Oregon link, the report addresses how Carbon Dioxide is formed but not how it gets in water. The only explanation I've seen for that is that it happens under pressure.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2010 04:23PM by sierranomad.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 01, 2010 04:54PM
Len will correct me if I screw this up:

Limestone is calcium carbonate. If calcium carbonate or similar salt is exposed to most strong acids (very common in volcanic areas, like sulfuric acid), it will form a salt and carbonic acid H2CO3. Carbonic acid is very soluble in water.

Carbonic acid exists in solution as a mixture of charged and uncharged molecules but importantly produces produces H2O and CO2 as part of the equation. The amount of CO2 in solution is defined by the partial pressure (related to atmospheric pressure). More carbon dioxide will be in solution at higher pressures. As the water comes to the surface and pressure changes, the CO2 cannot stay in solution and comes out as bubbles. Increasing the acidity of the water containing CO2 will also tend to drive out the gas.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 06:46AM
Interesting. I wish I paid more attention in science.

I can be a little dense. So I take from your explanation that some pressure is required for enough carbon dioxide to get into water to cause bubbles? But the more pressure, the more bubbles?
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 07:25AM
Quote
sierranomad
Interesting. I wish I paid more attention in science.

I can be a little dense. So I take from your explanation that some pressure is required for enough carbon dioxide to get into water to cause bubbles? But the more pressure, the more bubbles?
.

The bubbles represent a condition where the solution is suddenly "supersaturated" and the bubbles are the CO2 coming out of solution. If you uncap a bottle of soda, bubbles form. If you re-cap the bottle, pressure rises until the CO2 pressure over the liquid rises sufficiently to balance the tendency of the gas to leave the solution.

The CO2 in soda springs is sort of like the condition "the bends" where gas (in that situation, nitrogen) in a diver's body is happily in solution in deep sea water (actually, not all that deep is required) but when the diver comes to the surface too quickly, the gas comes out of solution.

In the ocean, if you dive, each 33 feet of salt water causes an increase in pressure of one atmosphere. Rock is more dense, I don't know the depth to produce on atmosphere of pressure, but conditions deep in the earth can become very intense (high pressure, extreme acidity, temperature).

To make it a little confusing, heat tends to decrease the solubility of most gases in solution. If you are a fisherman, you know that trout do better in cold water, as that water contains more oxygen than warm water. In the carbon dioxide situation, don't think too much about this except to realize that the "soda" spring has to be cooler than a typical thermal spring to keep the carbon dioxide in solution until the water reaches the surface. If you could measure the carbon dioxide in a Yellowstone hot spring, it would be very low or non-existent.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 08:49PM
Quote
Frank Furter
In the ocean, if you dive, each 33 feet of salt water causes an increase in pressure of one atmosphere. Rock is more dense, I don't know the depth to produce on atmosphere of pressure, but conditions deep in the earth can become very intense (high pressure, extreme acidity, temperature).


The density of granite, e.g., is about 2.75x that of water. Therefore, each 12 ft. of a granite overlayer will produce an additional std. atm. of pressure.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 09:56PM
So the pressure that causes the carbon dioxide to get in the water is the result of depth? No other forces needed for the required pressure to create naturally carbonated water?

I feel like a buffoon. How do you guys know all this stuff?
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 07:30AM
More pressure puts more gas into solution, a lessening of pressure causes gas to come out of solution. The more rapid the pressure drop the faster the the solution outgasses. There are also some very complex mechanical effects involving evolving.



Old Dude



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2010 06:44PM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 03:17PM
Wow! Thanks guys, this is fascinating stuff.

Jon
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 04:34PM
What really blows my mind is that the CO2 comes, probably, from limestone that is in the order of 100's of millions of years old that was formed by sea creatures from some shallow ocean before the Sierras even existed. If it is coming from Madison limestone, that layer is about 300,000,000 years old. Sort of like that photon of light from a distant galaxy traveling through space for a gazillion light years to reach earth.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2010 04:36PM by Frank Furter.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 02, 2010 05:00PM
That IS amazing. Seeing the results today of what was alive and growing maybe hundreds of millions of years ago.

This is one of the reasons I find the Grand Canyon fascinating. Rock at the bottom is, if I remember right, 1.7 BILLION years old. There's one trail that's an easy hike that has an abundance of fossils. You just walk maybe 10 minutes from the trailhead and I could spend all day searching for fossils. A little further down the trail you can see fossilized lizard tracks.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2010 05:06PM by sierranomad.
Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 22, 2010 06:28PM
The bubbling is due to degassing of a cooling magma chamber below the spring. Soda springs is essentially a small-scale fumarole. CO2, SO2, and H2O are commonly found dissolved in magma and evidence for this is found in gasses effusing out of volcanic vents and in mineral deposits. I'm not sure if we are thinking of the same Soda Springs, but I'm not aware of any CO3 being present, although it is possible that CO3 is present in smaller amounts in magmas. It is possible that the carbonation is caused by a carbonic acid (H2CO3) decomposition reaction, but that would first require that carbonate be present in a mineral in order to generate carbonic acid because H2CO3 is a weak acid, unstable, and easily decomposes.
avatar Re: What causes Soda Springs waters to be carbonated?
January 22, 2010 08:04PM
Quote
jgeo
The bubbling is due to degassing of a cooling magma chamber below the spring. Soda springs is essentially a small-scale fumarole. CO2, SO2, and H2O are commonly found dissolved in magma and evidence for this is found in gasses effusing out of volcanic vents and in mineral deposits. I'm not sure if we are thinking of the same Soda Springs, but I'm not aware of any CO3 being present, although it is possible that CO3 is present in smaller amounts in magmas. It is possible that the carbonation is caused by a carbonic acid (H2CO3) decomposition reaction, but that would first require that carbonate be present in a mineral in order to generate carbonic acid because H2CO3 is a weak acid, unstable, and easily decomposes.

Are you suggesting that substantial amounts of CO2 can exist in water and not involve an equilibrium with H2CO3?
It seems even if the original source of CO2 is not an acid acting on a carbonate compound that there should still be some formation of carbonic acid when CO2 saturates the water. CO2 in water should be more acidic than water alone would be.

Is there a particular type of volcanic rock material that has more CO2 than other types (basaltic vs rhyolitic for example)?

Is the degassing due to cooling, heating, or some other event like movement/turbulence?

Len's references previously posted suggest the following geologic sources for CO2:

Origin of carbon dioxide
Both manufactured and natural C02 are derived by the burning or chemical treatment of:
(1) organic matter, (2) materials of organic derivation such as coal, oil and the hydrocarbon
gases, and (3) rocks composed of carbonate minerals. The manufactured C02 is liberated in
plants where fuel is combusted, where cement and lime are burned, where ammonia and nitrogen
are manufactured, where hydrocarbons are treated, and where alcohol fermentation is
accomplished. A similar generation of C02 takes place in the 'earth's crust when natural
materials containing carbon are subjected to: (1) magmatic assimilation, (2) heat generated by
faulting, igneous intrusion, and metamorphism, (3) the action of acid ground waters on carbonate
rocks, and (4) the kinds of decay and fermentation that occur during the transformation of
buried organic matter into coal and hydrocarbons. Natural C02 is therefore found in varying
degrees of concentration in gases of volcanic origin, in areas of recent volcanism where uncooled
magmas remain in contact with limestones and sediments containing organic matter or
materials of organic derivation, and in association with deposits of coal and hydrocarbons.
Once formed, natural C02 is subject to the same structural and physical controls that
govern the entrapment, migration, and leakage of petroleum and the hydrocarbon gases. Thus
while tremendous quantities of C02 are discharged annually from the vents of the world's volcanoes,
and from lesser fumaroles and bedrock fractures in areas of recent volcanism, large
accumulations also exist in subsurface traps from which there is little or no leakage. For this
reason many C02 occurrences have been discovered accidentally d'Jring the course of dri II ing
exploratory wells for oil. Several of the New Mexico occurrences are notable examples.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
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