The presence of ferrihydrite in sediments/soils is critical to the cycling of iron (Fe) and many other elements but difficult to quantify. Extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy has been used to speciate Fe in the solid phase, but this method is thought to have difficulties in distinguishing ferrihydrite from goethite and other minerals. In this study, both conventional EXAFS linear combination fitting (LCF) and the method of standard-additions are applied to the same samples in attempt to quantify ferrihydrite and goethite more rigorously. Natural aquifer sediments from Bangladesh and the United States were spiked with known quantities of ferrihydrite, goethite and magnetite, and analyzed by EXAFS. Known mineral mixtures were also analyzed. Evaluations of EXAFS spectra of mineral references and EXAFS-LCF fits on various samples indicate that ferrihydrite and microcrystalline goethite can be distinguished and quantified by EXAFS-LCF but that the choice of mineral references is critical to yield consistent results. Conventional EXAFS-LCF and the method of standard-additions both identified appreciable amount of ferrihydrite in Bangladesh sediments that were obtained from a low‑arsenic Pleistocene aquifer. Ferrihydrite was also independently detected by sequential extraction and 57Fe Mӧssbauer spectroscopy. These observations confirm the accuracy of conventional EXAFS-LCF and demonstrate that combining EXAFS with additions of reference materials provides a more robust means of quantifying short-range-ordered minerals in complex samples.
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 5 Jan 2018|