Geochemistry Department

Dark Fiber Lays Groundwork for Long-Distance Earthquake Detection and Groundwater Mapping

In traditional seismology, researchers studying how the earth moves in the moments before, during, and after an earthquake rely on sensors that cost tens of thousands of dollars to make and install underground. And because of the expense and labor involved, only a few seismic sensors have been installed throughout remote areas of California, making…

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CouFrac Conference Focused on Advances in Coupled Processes in Fractured Media

The International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Geological Media: Observation, Modeling, and Application (CouFrac) was held in Wuhan, China, November 12-14, 2018. Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist Jonny Rutqvist initiated the new conference with the objective of focusing on exciting advances in all areas of coupled processes associated with fractured geological media. The conference was…

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Berkeley Lab Isotope Geochemists Study Isotopic Fractionation by Plants

            Isotope geochemists at Berkeley Lab are the first to establish the degree of Potassium (K) isotopic fractionation by plants. Isotopes are atoms of the same element that have a different number of neutrons. Scientists have just in the past decade begun studying for key nutrient elements (other than C,…

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Three Amazing EESA Women Take Home Women @ The Lab Awards

     Romy Chakraborty, Ecology Department Head Sixteen women at various stages of their careers were honored for making extraordinary contributions to STEM and Operations here at Berkeley Lab at the third Women @ The Lab event on Monday, July 9. Hundreds of friends and colleagues cheered as each woman approached the stage in the B50…

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EESA Mentoring Program Underway

The EESA Mentoring Pilot Program for FY2018 kicked off with two training sessions on January 11 for individuals grouped in pairs of 43 mentors and mentees from our Area who will meet over the next nine months. Mentors learned effective mentoring skills in a morning training with breakout sessions. Mentees gathered in an afternoon training…

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EcoSENSE Workshop Draws Participants from All Six Areas of Berkeley Lab

More than 75 participants from across all six areas of Berkeley Lab attended a half-day workshop on December 1 to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with ecosystem sensing and characterization. Hosts Eoin Brodie, Senior Scientist, Ecology Department, and research scientist Yuxin Wu, opened the morning workshop with an explanation of the work underway by Lab researchers…

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EESA Expertise Recognized with R&D100 Awards for CrunchFlow Technology, NRAP Toolset

A powerful software package that simulates how chemical reactions occur and change as fluids travel underground was developed by Berkeley Lab’s Carl Steefel with Sergi Molins-Rafa (co-developer), and co-developer Jennifer Druhan from the University of Illinois Champaign. CrunchFlow has been honored with a prestigious R&D100 Award from the scientific and engineering magazine, R&D Magazine. It…

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Seawater Chemistry May Have Influenced the Exchange of Elements Between Oceans and Earth throughout History

New research from scientists within the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab and others at UC Berkeley indicates that changes in the composition of seawater during the past 500 million years may have previously unrecognized effects on the composition of hydrothermal fluids flowing back into the oceans throughout millions of years. scientists may have previously overestimated the amount of weathering and erosion – the removal of material from land – needed from rivers to change the ocean’s composition over geologic time.

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Mack Kennedy Receives GRCs’ Geothermal Special Achievement Award

Mack Kennedy received the Geothermal Special Achievement Award from the Geothermal Resource Council, one of the world’s preeminent geothermal associations, during its 41st Annual Meeting held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kennedy was recognized for his outstanding contributions and dedication to developing the science and engineering needed for enhanced geothermal systems.

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EESA Develops New Approach to Restock California’s Groundwater via Almond Orchards, Vineyards

Flooding of California almond orchard for groundwater recharge demonstration project

Groundwater—the water stored underneath the Earth’s surface between the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and bedrock—is essential for the California residents and farmers who rely on it for up to 46 percent of their annual water use. Yet during the 2012-2017 drought, the state’s surface water supply was not sufficient to meet demand, resulting in excess groundwater pumping that caused land subsidence of up to 13 inches in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley. Now a team of scientists at Berkeley Lab’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Area are working with farmers and partners like the Almond Board of California and UC Davis to test on-farm banking, a new approach that has the potential to manage groundwater more sustainably. It’s an improvement on the age-old method of groundwater recharge, the process of replenishing aquifers by infiltrating water from the surface into shallow aquifers. “On-farm banking has the promise of making the most productive use of the greatest amount of land possible while increasing the reliability and resiliency of California’s groundwater supply,” says EESA scientist Peter Nico, a soil and environmental biogeochemist.

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