The present work studies pit propagation in marginally sour environments and proposes a credible mechanism. Both thermodynamic calculation and experimental measurement confirmed that H2S can be oxidized by traces of dissolved O2 into SO42- and H+ in the aqueous solutions near room temperature with the transitional metal ions serving as a catalyst. This acidification phenomenon would be more effective near the steel surface, especially inside a pit, where Fe2+ ions are most abundant. Therefore, the saturation degree of mackinawite would be lower inside the pit, which would prohibit the pitting from annihilation.

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