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In the late 18th century, Neptunists and Plutonists had controversial opinions about the formation of the Earth and its lithological units. The former believed that rocks formed from the crystallization of minerals in the early Earth’s oceans, the latter believed that rocks were formed in fire. Both theories ignored the importance of continuous water-rock interaction processes at Earth ́s surface and underground, which can enhance and define the type of volcanic activity, can cause the formation of secondary hydrothermal minerals and respective ore deposits, or simply alter the natural landscape by weathering. Although not visible at first glance, water-rock interaction plays a significant role in the daily life of humans. Many primary necessities of modern society, such as the availability of high-quality drinking water, the supply of fossil fuel and renewable energy types, the abundance of precious minerals, the remediation of contaminated natural sites, and the reconnaissance of geological hazards require a profound understanding of physicochemical processes interacting between liquid, solid and gas phases. Since 1974, when the first Water-Rock Interaction Symposia (WRI-1) was held in Prague (Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic), the Working Group on Water-Rock Interaction of the International Association of GeoChemistry (IAGC) has organized an international meeting every three years to present and discuss the most recent results in geochemical technologies. In 2010, WRI-13 attracted about 300 geoscientists affiliated with universities, research institutions, regulatory agencies and from private industry, from 35 countries to Guanajuato, Mexico. The 231 papers published in this volume describe novel advances in research related to interactive processes between the hydrosphere and the lithosphere. Innovative field-based studies, theoretical approaches and small-scale lab experiments are applied to reconstruct and combine pieces of the complex hydrological puzzle, and to confront society ́s impact on the environment. The papers reveal details on high-temperature reactions during the formation of hydrothermal ore deposits and geothermal reservoirs, practical case studies on groundwater quality and karst systems, environmental issues by mine tailings, novel technologies for the attenuation and remediation of contaminated sites, water/mineral interfacial processes on a micro- to macroscopic scale, the kinetics of weathering during low temperature conditions, examples for the advanced modeling of flow and transport processes as well as for CO2 reservoir injection, biochemical factors in surface and underground media, and the application of novel isotope techniques in rock/water/gas systems. Special emphasis in many papers is given on environmental concerns in abandoned mining districts, the occurrence and hazards of non-metals (especially arsenic) in exploited groundwater systems, and an increasing interest in mitigating CO2 emission by its injection into underground reservoirs. The papers in this volume are of wide-ranging interest to professionals and students in Earth sciences, including geochemistry, hydrochemistry, hydrology, geology, mineralogy, volcanology and environmental sciences, but also to decision-makers and engineers involved in the management of energy and natural resources, as well as professionals concerned about environmental issues.