Understanding Groundwater Arsenic Contamination through Geochemical Reactive Transport Modeling (Prof. MADHUMITA CHAKRABORTY)

2 students are sought for a project on “Understanding Groundwater Arsenic Contamination through Geochemical Reactive Transport Modeling ” with Prof. MADHUMITA CHAKRABORTY that will begin on 6/3/2024 and last for 8 weeks

Project Description:

Arsenic, a naturally occurring heavy metal found in the earth’s crust, poses a substantial public health risk when concentrated in groundwater due to natural geochemical processes such as leaching from rocks and sediments. This issue affects millions of people globally, with severe health consequences, including skin disorders and cancers. Reported as the most severe case of arsenic poisoning globally, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Delta, the world’s largest delta spanning eastern India and Bangladesh, is grappling with this alarming health crisis. Arsenic in the delta’s groundwater results from complex geochemical reactions through water-sediment interaction along groundwater flow paths, leading to its liberation from delta sediments alongside other solutes. Despite extensive scientific attention on arsenic contamination in the region, a comprehensive understanding of the varied geochemical reactions driving arsenic mobilization remains elusive. Recognizing this gap, our proposed project aims to contribute towards that direction. The project’s core objective is to delineate and quantify potential geochemical reactions occurring along groundwater flow paths in the Ganges delta, to comprehend the spatial variations in hydrogeochemical environments and arsenic contamination Leveraging one-dimensional (1D) reactive transport modeling, we will simulate chemical reactions and transport processes for various dissolved solutes in the groundwater of the Ganges delta. By systematically characterizing these processes, our project seeks to lay the groundwork for effective mitigation strategies and contribute to the broader scientific understanding of arsenic contamination in complex deltaic environments.

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites. But, a demonstrated interest in engaging in software-based modeling experience is preferred.

Special Comments

The project will involve 8 weeks of laboratory work, mostly focused on using computer programs. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me; I’m here to help!

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/3/2024

Estimated End Date: 7/26/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 2

Contact Information: Prof. MADHUMITA CHAKRABORTY (mchakraborty@wlu.edu)

Comparative Geological Analysis of Basalt in Iceland and Virginia: Implications for Carbon Storage Reservoirs (Prof. Karena Gill)

1 student is sought for a project on “Comparative Geological Analysis of Basalt in Iceland and Virginia: Implications for Carbon Storage Reservoirs” with Prof. Karena Gill that will begin on 6/1/2024 and last for 10 weeks

Project Description:

Project Summary i. Purpose of project, how it will be carried out, and time required: This summer research project proposal seeks funding to support one student collaborator for summer 2024 for up to 10 weeks. The student will assist in conducting a comprehensive geological analysis of basalt formations in Iceland and Virginia. The focus is on assessing their potential as native reservoirs for carbon storage. The study aims to understand the geochemical and mineralogical properties of these volcanic rocks for potential long-term carbon capture and storage (CCS) applications. To do this, we need to understand the geochemical and mineralogical properties of these volcanic rocks, by evaluating the geological characteristics of these formations. The project will be executed through a systematic study involving field sampling and geological mapping in Iceland and Virginia. Representative samples of basalts will be collected, and detailed geological maps will be created to grasp the distribution and geological context of the rocks. Subsequent laboratory analysis, including petrographic analysis, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy, will provide comprehensive information on the mineralogical composition, elemental composition, crystal structure, microstructures, porosity, and permeability of the rocks. The research will also involve investigating the carbon storage potential and hydrogeological properties of basalt through laboratory experiments and analysis. The summer research project is expected to span the duration of the summer, allowing for the thorough execution of field expeditions, laboratory analyses, and data interpretation. The comprehensive study, including comparative analysis and carbon storage modeling, will culminate in the development of conceptual models for carbon storage in basalt formations. The findings of this project will contribute to advancing our understanding of geological and geochemical characteristics, offering insights into the suitability of basalt formations for carbon storage. ii. Anticipated end-product(s) and contribution to my field(s): The project aims to provide insights into the suitability of these formations as native reservoirs for carbon storage, offering recommendations for further research and potential applications in carbon capture and storage initiatives. The findings are expected to have implications for sustainable carbon management strategies, adding valuable knowledge to the broader field of geology and environmental science. The project aims to result in a student-led presentation at a national meeting (Geological Society of America or American Geophysical Union) and eventually a manuscript focusing on the geological and geochemical characteristics of basalt formations in Iceland and Virginia. iii. Student responsibilities and educational benefits: If funded, The student will actively participate in all aspects of the project, including field expeditions, sample collection, geological mapping, laboratory analyses, and comparative studies. The student will gain hands-on experience in petrographic analysis, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, scanning electron microscopy, and carbon storage modeling. iv. Outside funding sought: The student will explore opportunities for the Johnson Opportunity Grant and other funding sources from the EEG Department to support field and lab expenses.

Prerequisites

EEG100/101

Special Comments

For geology majors; Sustainability and Regional Geology of Iceland Spring 2024; requires travel to the field in Virginia

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/1/2024

Estimated End Date: 8/9/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 1

Contact Information: Prof. Karena Gill (kgill@wlu.edu)

Rapid Assessment of Coral Gardens: Documenting the Decline of a Refugia (Prof. Lisa Greer)

3 students are sought for a project on “Rapid Assessment of Coral Gardens: Documenting the Decline of a Refugia” with Prof. Lisa Greer that will begin on 6/10/2024 and last for 6 weeks

Project Description:

This proposal requests funding to support 3 student research collaborators in ongoing work at Coral Gardens Belize. If funded they will be part of a group of 11 undergraduate students from across the country working on this project. I am requesting funding for an additional week for my W&L team. Coral Gardens has been decimated of live coral due to the unprecedented 2023 marine heatwave brought on by global warming, the onset of an El NiƱo Year, and global decrease in albedo due to melting ice. This event needs to be documented accurately, quantitatively, and quickly for dissemination to the broader scientific community and public.

Prerequisites

No

Special Comments

Students need no prior coursework. The project will include 2 weeks of fieldwork in Belize.

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/10/2024

Estimated End Date: 7/19/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 3

Contact Information: Prof. Lisa Greer (greerl@wlu.edu)

Bioremediation of Emerging Contaminants (Prof. Margaret Anne Hinkle)

3 students are sought for a project on “Bioremediation of Emerging Contaminants” with Prof. Margaret Anne Hinkle that will begin on 6/17/2024 and last for 10 weeks

Project Description:

Using both biomineralizing fungi as well as the resulting biominerals, we aim to continue our work on coal mine drainage remediation and apply these same principles to rare earth elements sequestration or PFAS remediation, depending on student interest and site availability.

Prerequisites

None!

Special Comments

The research will definitely involve lab work and may involve field work in Pennsylvania depending on site availability and student interest. We will be applying for funds to support a trip to the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. to analyze our samples with their excellent instrumentation.

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/17/2024

Estimated End Date: 8/23/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 3

Contact Information: Prof. Margaret Anne Hinkle (hinklem@wlu.edu)

Structural analysis of mylonites from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado, using crystallographic preferred orientation analysis (Prof. Jeffrey Rahl)

1 student is sought for a project on “Structural analysis of mylonites from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado, using crystallographic preferred orientation analysis” with Prof. Jeffrey Rahl that will begin on 7/8/2024 and last for 8 weeks

Project Description:

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado expose mylonitic rocks that record a complex, multi-phase deformation history. In this project, we will use the distribution of the crystallographic orientations of quartz to assess deformation conditions, including the stress, temperature, and kinematic vorticity.

Prerequisites

Required coursework: Structural Geology Additional requirements: Training in operation of the Scanning Electron Microscopy and Electron Backscatter Diffraction; experience with Matlab

Special Comments

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 7/8/2024

Estimated End Date: 8/30/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 1

Contact Information: Prof. Jeffrey Rahl (rahlj@wlu.edu)