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Chemical reactions that affect the biological and geochemical characteristics of a basin include (1) acid-base reactions, (2) precipitation and dissolution of minerals, (3) sorption and ion exchange, (4) oxidation-reduction reactions, (5) biodegradation, and (6) dissolution and exsolution of gases (see Box D). When water first infiltrates the land surface, microorganisms in the soil have a significant effect on the evolution of water chemistry.
Organic matter in soils is degraded by Microbes, producing high concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2). This process lowers the pH by increasing the carbonic acid (H2CO3) concentration in the soil water. The production of carbonic acid starts a number of mineral-weathering reactions, which result in bicarbonate (HCO3−) commonly, being the most abundant anion in the water. Where contact times between water and minerals in shallow groundwater flow paths are short, the dissolved-solids concentration in the water generally is low. In such settings, limited chemical changes take place before ground water is discharged to surface water.
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