Environmental and Low Temperature Geochemistry at Dartmouth
|Acid mine drainage in New Idria, CA.
Overview. Low temperature geochemistry is the study of the diverse chemical processes characteristic of the earth's surfacial environments. The Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College has a number of faculty that specialize in one or more areas of low temperature and aqueous geochemical research. This research ranges from the geochemistry of surficial environments such as soils and sediments (Sharma, and Renshaw), contaminant transport (Feng and Renshaw), and chemical weathering processes (Sharma and Feng). The department also uses a variety of cutting-edge methodologies for the study of ecology and the earth's climatic history (Feng, Aronson). All of this work is tied together by the need to describe in detail the underlying basis of fundamental geological processes in surficial environments. This work includes, but is not limited to, the study of global geochemical cycles, nutrient cycling, and sediment diagenesis.
Environmental issues including the fate and transport of contaminants, ecosystem function, global warming and climate change, and chemical weathering also are intimately linked to geochemistry. A diverse group of researchers, including Feng, Renshaw, and Jackson, at Dartmouth examine these issues in their research. Their work, and collaborations between them and other researchers, is designed to provide a quantitative and mechanistic basis of environmental processes, predict the extent and magnitude of geological problems, and to design effective remediation strategies.
Laboratory Facilities. Dartmouth Earth Sciences is well equipped for geochemical research. Here, we have a number of dedicated mass spectrometers for both stable and radiogenic isotopes, multiple inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometers and optical emission spectrometers for elemental and isotopic analyses, chromatographs for chemical separation and speciation, facilities for mineral spectroscopy, and a variety of general use laboratories for sample processing. We also have metal-free and clean laboratory facilities for sample preparation for ultratrace analysis.