The Sulfur Cycle

Project By: Brandon Pouliot

The Sulfur Cycle

Sulfur is primarily found as sulfates that are located inside rocks, or as free sulfur. Also sulfur occurs when lead and mercury are combined as PbS and Hgs. Sulfur often appears in soil as yellow aspects in many regions.
At first sulfur was mined early, and it was called the yellow element. Sulfur was used for gunpowder and fireworks. Sulfur is an essential element for biological molecules.
The Sulfur Cycle has both atmospheric and terrestrial processes. The terrestrial process weathers down rocks which releases sulfur. The atmospheric process when sulfur comes into contact air it becomes sulfate; animals will begin to breathe in the sulfate, and then it goes through the food chain, until it is released back into the air.


The Sulfur Cycle has several sub-cycles; the first cycle is long cycle of weathering, erosion , and deposition, the second cycle is an atmospheric cycle where bacteria metabolize dead organic matter and releases sulfur into the atmosphere, the third cycle is a marine cycle where evaporation of the sea water releases sulfur into the atmosphere for a brief time, and the fourth cycle is a plant cycle where organic sulfur is used to sustain plants.

Chemical Reactions

Sulfur changes several times through out the Sulfur cycle. The first transition of sulfur is sulfur dioxide and sulfate, the next transition is hydrogen sulfide, then metal sulfur, and finally organic sulfur.

Sulfur Resevoirs

The largest reservoir for sulfur is the Earth's crust. The largest biologically useful sulfur would be within the oceans. Other reservoirs are freshwater, land, and the atmosphere.

Pathway of Movement

Sulfur travels through the atmosphere by natural ways. The natural ways are through the volcanic ash after a volcano has erupted, sea spray, forest fires, and dust storms. Also, sulfur can move by going through the food web. There are also unnatural paths of sulfur; those are through human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels.

Human Interventions

Human activities have influenced by the sulfur cycle by causing environmental damage. The environmental damage caused is acid rain and acid mine drainage. Acid mine drainage is the surface or groundwater has been acidified by oxidation of pyrite and other reduced sulfur minerals in coal and metal mines and also their waste.
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