Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Geochemistry Department Core Capability: Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemical Cycling

The Geochemistry Department has developed an integrated understanding of complex environmental and geochemical systems. Our experimental approach combines field and laboratory investigations with state-of-the-art spectroscopic and microscopic imaging techniques (principally utilizing the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley Lab, and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source at SLAC). The group works closely with the Geochemistry Department's Reactive Transport Modeling group so as to develop an integrated understanding of complex environmental and geochemical systems.

The Department also has significant expertise in interrogating and quantifying biogeochemical cycles of carbon, metal, and other nutrients, using field and laboratory experiments. This expertise includes synchrotron-based spectromicroscopic techniques, which are being used to unravel the chemical and physical heterogeneity of natural samples and quantify ecosystem biogeochemical cycling.

At present, the research focus for this group is on:

  • Contaminant transport and speciation, especially in biostimulated systems
  • Chemical weathering, including the kinetics of mineral precipitation and dissolution
  • Biogeochemical cycling

Group members include Peter Nico, Carl Steefel, and Li Yang.

In addition to their access to the synchrotron-based beamlines at the National Laboratories, the group maintains a state of the art ICPMS facility consisting of a Perkin-Elmer Elan DRC-II with a dedicated HPLC system for speciation studies. In addition, the group has recently added capabilities for surface area measurement, along with measurement of both total inorganic and organic carbon. A microwave digester that links to the ICPMS for analysis of solid samples will be procured in July 2010.