In Yangmingshan National Park, located in the northern part of the Taiwan Island, there is a very rare area where fish (Channa asiatica) live in spite of acid environments. The origin of the acid in local acid ponds and rivers and the evolution of the water chemistry are discussed on the basis of sulfur stable isotope ratios and chemical equilibria. One of the sources of the acid is sulfuric acid, which is derived from the oxidation of hydrogen sulfide in volcanic gas gushing out from fumaroles around the area and from acid deposition supplied from Taipei City. It is also derived from the oxidation of pyrite: the sulfur stable isotope ratios of δ34S of +1‰ to +4‰ (relative to CDT) of sulfate in acid pond waters (pH 3-4) could be related to those of hydrogen sulfide in volcanic gas, pyrite in local pond sediments and soils, and sulfate in rain water. One acid source is sulfuric and hydrochloric acids arising in springs from geothermal activity: the δ34S values were characterised by +13‰ to +17‰ sulfate-S, which was provided by a disproportionation reaction of sulfur dioxide in the depths. Another acid source could be the oxidation of iron(II). Under acidic conditions, the water-rock reaction gives rise to high concentrations of aluminium and iron. While flowing down surface streams, iron(II) is oxidised to iron(III) and then hydrolysed to cause further acidification under oxic conditions. The concentrations of iron and aluminium are controlled by redox and dissolution equilibria.
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