- © The Mineralogical Society Of America
As reactive constituents, organic matter (OM) molecules interact with their surroundings. These interactions determine the fate of OM (e.g., degradation, mobilization), and may also alter the course and/or progress of different non organic reactions (e.g., mineral dissolution and precipitation). The goal of this chapter is to give an overview of these mutual effects between OM and water-rock interactions. The various interactions between organic molecules and minerals are of interest in a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. Some of them are included in the classical framework of water-rock interactions (e.g., weathering processes, soil sciences, environmental geochemistry and petroleum geology). Other areas of interest include prevention of scale formation in oil production, geothermal energy conversion, desalination, and industrial water treatment (Amjad and Hooley 1986), pharmacy, rubber production, paper coatings, inks, and ceramics (Mortland 1986). Therefore, it is not surprising that the literature on the interactions between OM and minerals includes thousands of publications. The present chapter gives an overview of the interactions between OM and minerals and the mutual effects between OM and water-rock interactions. This overview reflects the perspective and understanding of the authors, and it does not represent all the important aspects of the field. As a result, a number of important studies are not included in this review.
The study of the origin of life is an example of a field of study that is not included in the present review, even though OM-mineral surface interactions have served as the cornerstone in this field. Following the hypothesis posed by Goldschmidt (1952 as cited in Schoonen et al. 2004), scientists have pursued the idea that mineral surfaces served as a catalyst for early prebiotic molecules. A recent review by Schoonen et al. (2004) discusses the mechanisms and possibilities with which different minerals might have promoted the synthesis of simple …