Temperature-dependence of the zeta potential in intact natural carbonates

D. Al Mahrouqi (Corresponding Author), Jan Vinogradov, M.D. Jackson

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The zeta potential is a measure of the electrical charge on mineral surfaces and is an important control on subsurface geophysical monitoring, adsorption of polar species in aquifers, and rock wettability. We report the first measurements of zeta potential in intact, water-saturated, natural carbonate samples at temperatures up to 120 °C. The zeta potential is negative and decreases in magnitude with increasing temperature at low ionic strength (0.01 M NaCl, comparable to potable water) but is independent of temperature at high ionic strength (0.5 M NaCl, comparable to seawater). The equilibrium calcium concentration resulting from carbonate dissolution also increases with increasing temperature at low ionic strength, but is independent of temperature at high ionic strength. The temperature dependence of the zeta potential is correlated with the temperature dependence of the equilibrium calcium concentration and shows a Nernstian linear relationship. Our findings are applicable to many subsurface carbonate rocks at elevated temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 11,578–11,587
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
Early online date4 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2016



  • zeta potential
  • surface charge
  • elevated temperature
  • intact carbonates
  • pCa
  • potential determining ions

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