Ionic potential is a concept that geochemists trace back to Victor Goldschmidt's work in the 1930s. Goldschmidt produced the classic diagram on the right, still used in many textbooks. On that diagram, lines radiating from the origin are lines of equal ionic potential, and the two lines shown divide ions into a field of soluble ions, ions that are insoluble and make hydroxides, and ions soluble in oxyanions (e.g., S6+ in sulfate). However, note that Goldshmidt fell into the trap of only putting one element one place: he has Fe as insoluble Fe3+, but didn't also show Fe2+, which is much more soluble.

        Goldschmidt, however, was not the first to consider ionic potential . . . .


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