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The Aqueous Chemistry of Oxides$
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Bruce C. Bunker and William H. Casey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199384259.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

The Importance of Oxides and Oxide-Water Reactions

The Importance of Oxides and Oxide-Water Reactions

(p.3) 1 The Importance of Oxides and Oxide-Water Reactions
(p.i) Title Pages

Bruce C. Bunker

William H. Casey

Oxford University Press

Earth is composed primarily of oxides (Fig. 1.1, Plate 1, Table 1.1). The interior is a iron-nickel core that represents 35% of the planetary mass. The core is encapsulated within a plastic zone called the mantle. Floating on top of the mantle, like the slag on top of a blast furnace, is a thin skin called the crust. Both the mantle and the crust (65% of the planetary mass) are primarily oxides. Although the crust is thin (8–13 km thick under the ocean basins and up to 70 km thick under the continents), it still represents a massive amount of material, corresponding to 7 billion km3, with a weight of 2.5.1019 metric tons. Of this mass, 46% is tied up in the relatively light element oxygen, predominantly in oxides containing silicon, aluminum, and iron. Almost every material that we humans encounter or use is derived from the oxide building blocks that comprise Earth’s crust. Water is by far the most abundant liquid on the planet. In fact, it can be difficult to comprehend just how much water is contained in Earth. Most of our liquid water is in the oceans, which cover a total surface area of 361 million km2 (70% of Earth’s surface) at an average depth of almost 4 km (Plate 1). The volume of water in the oceans is 1.4 billion km3, which is one-fifth the volume of the entire crust. The total mass of the hydrosphere is 1.7.1018 MT. However, the total water content of the planet is estimated to be 100 times greater than the liquid we see; most of the water on Earth (2.1020 MT) is tied up in hydrous oxide minerals in Earth’s interior. We all know that life on Earth could not exist without water. However, to put things in perspective, the total mass of all living things on Earth is 3.6.1011 MT, which is 5 million times less than the mass of liquid water on our planet.

Keywords:   acid-base chemistry, dissolution rates, extinction coefficients, hydrosphere, ion exchange, optoelectronics, refractive index, superconducting oxides, tensile strength

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