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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Nov 1;39(21):8295-9.

Phosphine from rocks: mechanically driven phosphate reduction?

Author information

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 418 Durham Hall, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA. dglindem@vt@aol.com

Abstract

Natural rock and mineral samples released trace amounts of phosphine during dissolution in mineral acid. An order of magnitude more phosphine (average 1982 ng PH3 kg rock and maximum 6673 ng PH3/kg rock) is released from pulverized rock samples (basalt, gneiss, granite, clay, quartzitic pebbles, or marble). Phosphine was correlated to hardness and mechanical pulverization energy of the rocks. The yield of PH3 ranged from 0 to 0.01% of the total P content of the dissolved rock. Strong circumstantial evidence was gathered for reduction of phosphate in the rock via mechanochemical or "tribochemical" weathering at quartz and calcite/marble inclusions. Artificial reproduction of this mechanism by rubbing quartz rods coated with apatite-phosphate to the point of visible triboluminescence, led to detection of more than 70 000 ng/kg PH3 in the apatite. This reaction pathway may be considered a mechano-chemical analogue of phosphate reduction from lightning or electrical discharges and may contribute to phosphine production via tectonic forces and processing of rocks.

PMID:
16294866
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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