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Overview

Chemical reactions between fluids and minerals create the environments that are uniquely characteristic of Earth’s surface.  For example, chemical weathering reactions support the growth of soils and organisms and regulate the flow of elements to the oceans. The rates of these reactions also control the release and storage of natural and human-derived contaminants.  Over geologic timescales, mineral-fluid reactions have helped to maintain a mostly habitable planet. Over human timescales, these reactions will regulate our ability to use Earth’s resources, such as soils, waters, and minerals. 

Research Specifics

Our research focuses on the rates of chemical reactions that occur at Earth’s surface and in the shallow subsurface, including three closely related areas involving geochemistry and reactive transport (i.e., the coupling between water flow and chemical reactions). These areas are:

  1. Geological Carbon Storage (GCS): the consequences associated with the injection of large volumes of anthropogenic CO2 into the subsurface. 
  2. Environmental Geochemistry: fate and transport of metal and radionuclide contaminants in the subsurface.
  3. Paleoclimate, Weathering and Paleohydrology: reconstruction of the geologic carbon cycle and surface processes over time scales from thousands to millions of years. 

Research Facilities

Our research is supported by a number of outstanding analytical and computational facilities present at Stanford (>>learn more).  A primary research tool for our research group is a newly developed isotope geochemistry facility, the Stanford ICP-MS/TIMS Facility or the “Plasma Lab”.  We also use a variety of numerical reactive transport models, including CrunchFlowTOUGHREACT and Geochemist's Workbench

Research Support

Our research is made possible through support from a broad range of funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society / Petroleum Research Foundation, theGlobal Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), and various industry sponsors. Stanford University and the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences have also provided a great deal of research support in the form of student fellowships, internships and direct funding of research. We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received.

Related News

Vimeo | October 08, 2013

A video about enhanced metal sorption in tiny pores, by GCEP Distinguished Student Lecturer and EIG PhD student Joey Nelson.