Geology at the speed of life – Neoformation of reactive clays with wollastonite
Wollastonite heals soil by supplying abundant silicon in soluble forms to transform soluble aluminum from harmful to useful.
The soil is an incredible system that constantly responds to changes in its environment. Aluminum is an element that inhibits healthy plant growth at high concentrations in the soil. But the soil system has multiple methods for mitigating elevated aluminum levels. Some of the aluminum can be taken out of the soil solution and binds to organic matter (learn more). Another method that transforms a hindrance into a benefit involves silicon.
With abundant silicon around, aluminum can form highly reactive clay minerals that enhance soil functions. This study states that aluminum silicate clay minerals can form at rates of up to 0.85 g per kg of soil. That is a quick way of transforming soluble aluminum into an insoluble form by creating secondary clay minerals. This process of creating new clay minerals is called clay neoformation. These clay minerals increase the health of the soil by creating more sites to hold on to nutrients and stop them from washing away as well as increasing the ability of the soil to hold water. Read the full study here