Effects of soil moisture content on CO2 triggered soil physicochemical properties in a near-surface environment

Zahra Derakhshan-Nejad, Woojin Lee, Seunghee Han, Jaeyoung Choi, Seong Taek Yun, Giehyeon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been frequently discussed as a strategy for meeting CO2 emission reduction and its targets. However, some critical issues have been raised with regard to the potential hazards to near-surface environments by CO2 leakage. Hence, this study was conducted to examine the effects of soil moisture content on the potential risks associated with a high concentration of CO2 to change physicochemical properties of a near-surface soil. Materials and methods: Soil samples for a batch experiment were collected from an abandoned gold mine, South Korea. Batch experiments were conducted in a specially designed CO2 glove box (95–99 vol.% CO2) at four different moisture contents (0, 15, 27.5 wt.%, and a suspension of soil to water ratio 1:10) and different reaction times up to 30 days. A control experiment was conducted at the ambient conditions open to the atmosphere otherwise the same conditions. Physicochemical properties of the soil samples (i.e., pH, mineralogy, organic matter (OM), inorganic carbon (IC), and cation exchange capacity (CEC)) as well as leachability of metal(loid)s were examined before and after the CO2 incubation. Results and discussion: Results showed that the pH of the CO2-incubated partially wet (15 and 27.5 wt.%) and suspension samples rapidly decreased by about one unit (P < 0.01) in 2 h and gradually recovered in 10 days. It was noteworthy that CO2 was adsorbed to the dry soil (0 wt.%) and led to acidification as the soil pH dropped from 5.56 ± 0.02 to 4.5 ± 0.03. Soil organic matter content and cation exchange capacity decreased with increasing moisture content in the CO2-incubated samples. A noticeable increase in the leachability of Fe, Al, Ca, Mg, Mn, K, and Zn were observed in the CO2-incubated soil suspensions. In contrast, the leachability of metal(loid)s in the dry and partially wet samples were not remarkable, although the soil pH decreased significantly. Conclusions: Our findings highlighted the effect of CO2 exposure on the soil acidification, even to soils in unsaturated zones, and stressed to monitor simultaneously soil physicochemical properties and metal(loid)s leaching induced by CO2 exposure in the near-surface environment. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2107-2120
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2017R1A2B4011773 and NRF-2017R1A6A1A07015374) and the Korean Ministry of the Environment (MOE) as a “K-COSEM Research Program” (Project No. 2014001810002).

Funding Information:
We thank the Hydrogeology Laboratory and the Institute for High-pressure Mineral Physics and Chemistry at Yonsei University for providing us with ICP-OES, XRD, and BET facilities for sample analyses.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • CO leakage
  • Metal(loid)s leaching
  • Near-surface environment
  • Soil acidification
  • Soil moisture content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Stratigraphy


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