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Van Tuyl Lecture: José Cerrato, University of New Mexico
February 1, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
José Cerrato, University of New Mexico – José M. Cerrato obtained a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Honduras, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. He was also a Postdoctoral Researcher in Washington University in St Louis. His research interest is related to biogeochemical processes occurring at molecular and macro scales at the interface of water and energy. He has been a recipient of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award and the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.
Van Tuyl Lecture, BE 241, 4 PM
“Interfacial Processes Affecting the Transport of Uranium and Co-occurring Metals in Abandoned Mines in Native American Communities”
Abstract: The transport of metals in mine wastes from two sites located in tribal land in the Southwestern US was investigated by integrating laboratory experiments, microscopy, and spectroscopy. Metal release from these mine wastes could pose potential health risks for neighboring communities. Spectroscopy analyses on the first site located in Northeastern AZ (Navajo tribe) suggest that U-V phases are present in abandoned mine wastes; the dissolution of these U-V phases is relevant to U and V transport. Electron microprobe and electron microscopy analyses on the second site located in Laguna, NM (Pueblo tribe) suggest that U-Si and U-P phases on mine wastes from which could be a source for U in neighboring surface waters. The presence of 80% U(VI) and 20% U(IV) was detected with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and nano-particulate coffinite was identified in mine waste samples using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Accumulation of U in roots of salt cedar plants was also investigated. This presentation will emphasize the importance of interfacial interactions on the transport of metals in waters adjacent to abandoned mine waste sites. The results from this investigation have important implications to inform risk assessment and remediation strategies in affected communities.