Transport of Dissolved Si from Soil to River: A Conceptual Mechanistic Model

Benedicta Ronchi, Wim Clymans, Ana Barão, Floor Vandevenne, Eric Struyf, Okke Batelaan, Alain Dassargues, Gerard Govers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reviews the processes which determine the concentrations of dissolved silicon (DSi) in soil water and proposes a conceptual mechanistic model for understanding the transport of Si through soils to rivers. The net DSi present in natural waters originates from the dissolution of mineral and amorphous Si sources in the soil, as well as precipitation processes. Important controlling factors are soil composition (mineralogy and saturated porosity) and soil water chemistry (pH, concentrations of organic acids, CO 2 and electrolytes). Together with production, polymerization and adsorption equations they constitute a mechanistic framework determining DSi concentrations. We discuss how key controls differ across soil horizons and how this can influence the DSi transport. A typical podzol soil profile in a temperate climate is used as an example, but the proposed model is transferrable to other soil types. Additionally, the impact of external forcing factors such as seasonal climatic variations and land use is evaluated. This blueprint for an integrated model is a first step to mechanistic modelling of Si transport processes in soils. Future implementation with numerical methods should validate the model with field measurements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)115-133
    Number of pages19
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


    • Amorphous Si
    • Dissolved silicon
    • Land use
    • Mechanistic Si model
    • Si transport


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