Reaction path modeling of hydrogeochemical evolution of groundwater in granitic bedrocks, South Korea

Kyu Youl Sung, Seong Taek Yun, Maeng Eon Park, Yong Kwon Koh, Byoung Young Choi, Ian Hutcheon, Kyoung Ho Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwaters from areas of granitic bedrock in Daejeon, Eonyang and Yeongcheon in South Korea mainly belong to Ca-HCO 3 and Na-HCO 3 groundwater types according to their chemical composition, with fewer examples of the Ca-(Cl+SO 4) and Na-(Cl+SO 4) types. To explain the hydrogeochemical evolution of these groundwaters during deep circulation in granitic rocks, we performed reaction path modeling. The results show that the hydrochemical type of groundwater progressively evolves from an initial Ca-Cl type (rainwater) to a final Na-HCO 3 type (of deep groundwater), through an intermediate Ca-HCO 3 type. The reaction path model agrees well with the clay mineralogy of the granites. As the reaction between rainwater and granitic rock progresses, the activity of hydrogen ion decreases (i.e., pH increases) and the concentrations of cations are controlled by the dissolution of major rock-forming minerals, followed by the precipitation and dissolution of secondary minerals, according to the pH. The continuous reaction with granite causes the formation of secondary minerals in the following sequence: gibbsite plus hematite, Mn-oxide, kaolinite, chalcedony, chlorite, muscovite (a proxy for illite here), calcite, laumontite, prehnite, and finally analcime. Silica minerals are predominant in abundance among the minerals formed through the granite-water reactions. The results of this study can provide geochemical information for the preliminary site characterization for high-level nuclear waste disposal at depth in granitic rocks in South Korea and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-97
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Radioactive Waste Management Program of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea Government Ministry of Knowledge Economy (no. 201017102002D ). The initiation of this work was supported by the Environmental Geosphere Research Laboratory (EGRL) of Korea University . Comments from Drs. K. Nordstrom and K. Walraevens helped to clarify and improve the early manuscript. Comments and suggestions by anonymous reviewers and the Associate Editor also helped to improve the final version of this manuscript.


  • Clay mineralogy
  • Granitic rocks
  • Hydrogeochemical evolution
  • Nuclear waste disposal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology


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