Discovery Geosciences

Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Geochemistry

Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) image of a single particle of fully hydrated smectite. The individual aluminosilicate layers of the swelling clay are clearly imaged in cross-section. Image courtesy of Luis Comolli and Jill Banfield.

Studying the fundamental chemical controls on the structure, properties and evolution of rock-fluid systems in terrestrial and subsurface Earth settings.

Program Overview

The Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Geochemistry Program at Berkeley Lab’s Energy Geosciences Division is organized by a group of geochemists, led by Benjamin Gilbert. The The Berkeley Geochemistry group studies the fundamental chemical controls on the structure, properties and evolution of rock-fluid systems in terrestrial and subsurface Earth settings.

The Geochemistry group is composed of Berkeley Lab researchers, faculty scientists associated with UC-Berkeley, and a complement of postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. We enjoy collaborations with a number of U.S. and international scientists and institutions.

We are currently studying the effect of salinity on geochemical processes. Saline aqueous fluids are common in geologic systems, not only in marine and coastal settings. For example, salinity is typically high in arid soils and brines are the most common fluids in subsurface formations. Salinity exerts significant effects on all geochemical processes in ways that are not fully understood. Moreover, saline fluids are frequently present in spatially confined water films on mineral surfaces, pores in rock, or clay interlayers. We are developing new description of solvation, adsorption, transport and reaction processes in confined, high salinity fluids.

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