Date of Award
Dr. Joe Nix
Sand is fairly rich in some common trace metals, notably manganese and iron. However, these metals for the most part are in a state which renders them insoluble in water. It is thought that the presence of organic matter (principally leaves) in the water enhances the dissolution of some of these trace metals into the aqueous solution.
This enhancement of dissolution is generally thought to come about in three main ways: (1) The organic matter present lowers the oxygen content of the water, and the metals are reduced into a soluble form, (2) The organic material, some of which is slightly acid, lowers the pH of the water, thereby enhancing solubility conditions for some metals, and (3) Some of the organic compounds may actually chelate the metals, rendering them into a water soluble form.
Goodwin, Thomas Elton, "The Effect of Oak Leaves on the Leaching of Trace Metals from Sand" (1968). Honors Theses. 573.