1) and the community compositions reflected this change in geochemical conditions. Several novel lineages were identified within the archaeal Thermoplasmatales order associated with the pyrite slump, and the Red Pool (pH 1.4) contained the only population of Acidithiobacillus. Relatively small populations of Sulfobacillus spp. and Acidithiobacillus caldus may metabolize elemental sulfur as an intermediate species in the oxidation of pyritic sulfide to sulfate. Experiments show that elemental sulfur which forms on pyrite surfaces is resistant to most oxidants; its solublization by unattached cells may indicate involvement of a microbially derived electron shuttle. The detachment of thiosulfate (S2O32-) as a leaving group in pyrite oxidation should result in the formation and persistence of tetrathionate in low pH ferric iron-rich AMD solutions. However, tetrathionate is not observed. Although a S2O32--like species may form as a surface-bound intermediate, data suggest that Fe3+ oxidizes the majority of sulfur to sulfate on the surface of pyrite. This may explain why microorganisms that can utilize intermediate sulfur species are scarce compared to Fe-oxidizing taxa at the Richmond Mine site."/>
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Figure 2 | Geochemical Transactions