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Posts by K. Ulrich Mayer

The Art of Reactive Transport Model Building

Much like artists use their skills of abstraction, simplification, and idealization to capture the essence of a landscape, the articles in this issue of Elements on reactive transport modeling describe how theories and assumptions about the subsurface world can be translated into constructs of a mathematical world. Such theories may encompass the actions of micro- and macroorganisms, solute and gas transport, the speciation of both solid phases and surfaces, and their myriad interactions. The resulting mathematical world, built up over decades, is then distilled and interrogated numerically using computer models made up of advanced algorithms that tenaciously step through time and space.

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Tracking Diverse Minerals, Hungry Organisms, and Dangerous Contaminants Using Reactive Transport Models

Beneath our feet is a fascinating world of flowing water, cosmopolitan microbes, and complex mineral assemblages. Yet we see none of it from above. Our quest to investigate these complex subsurface interactions has led to the development of reactive transport models. These are computer algorithms that allow us to explore, in a virtual way, the natural dynamics of Earth’s systems and our anthropogenic impact on those systems. Here, we explain the concepts behind reactive transport models—which include the transport of aqueous species and the descriptions of biogeochemical reactions involving solutes, surfaces and microorganisms—and introduce to reactive transport applications in terrestrial and marine environments.

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