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Humic acid (HA) is particularly important in iron-bearing mineral transformations and erosion at the water-mineral boundary zone of the Earth. In this study, three stages of the possible pathway by which HA causes mineral transformation from siderite to goethite are identified. Firstly, a Fe(II)-HA complex is formed by chelation, which accelerates the dissolution and oxidation of Fe(II) from the surface of siderite. As the Fe(II)-HA complex retains Fe atoms in close proximity of each other,doi:10.1038/s42004-020-0284-3 fatcat:luighwakgbbvhm25gxskjsnwpq