Depositional environments such as floodplains are poorly understood and dynamic components of the global carbon cycle that not are well represented in Earth system models. Further, they have a dominant influence on metal cycling within critical transport conduits to surface and groundwater. Importantly, the fate of carbon and redox active metals such as iron and uranium (and other metal contaminants) are intimately linked. In addition to the global importance of processes controlling carbon cycling, the fate of uranium and other metal contaminants within floodplains are an important consideration for the U.S. DOE. Legacy contamination throughout the Colorado River Basin has led to a host of floodplains with persistent uranium plumes Thus, there is an urgent need to understand the fundamental biogeochemical processes that contribute to or protect against the persistence of redox-active metal and radionuclide contaminants in groundwater.
Proposer: Scott Ferndorf, Stanford University