Content of PhD-studies
Trace elements in fracture minerals and groundwaters
Construction of an underground repository for spent nuclear fuel allows community not only to solve problems with waste disposal but also provides unique opportunity for researchers to look into the earth’s interior and to conduct underground experiments/measurements under realistic conditions. There are only a few places in the world that provides such possibilities, and one of those is Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory (Aspo HRL) where the investigations will be carried out.
My research study will be focused on the rare earth elements (REEs) and other trace elements contained in modern deep groundwaters and fracture minerals from Aspo HRL. The main purpose of current investigation is to obtain knowledge and explanation for the trace elements’ behavior in groundwaters and fracture minerals collected from bedrock.
The interest to studying of REEs in water and minerals lies within the unique chemical/geochemical properties of those elements and their small and ubiquitous appearance in environment, which means that they are valuable tracers and signatures of all natural systems and processes taking place there.
From complex investigation of REEs patterns in the fracture mineralogy and the chemistry of groundwater I expect to obtain information about the dominant factors of partitioning of rare elements in minerals during their crystallization, and about chemical/geochemical signatures of paleohydrological solutions (their composition, variations of physicochemical conditions, microbiological influence, etc.). By comparison of differences between behavior of REEs in modern groundwaters and minerals (which in some degree is the reflection of chemical composition of paleohydrological solutions) we expect to increase our understanding of underground solutions’ evolution and processes which occur in water-mineral interaction.
For the study of REEs in fracture mineralization, material from vertical boreholes drilled and provided by Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) will be used. Data of REE content in the water will be collected from underground using DGT samplers that are strongly appropriate equipments for the conditions prevailing underground (Garmo et al., 2006). For the understanding of elements’ speciation in groundwater solutions it is planned to use the chemical equilibrium program Visual MINTEQ (Gustufsson, 2006). All gained results are going to be carefully analyzed and compared with the existing data and treated statistically.
Garmo Ø.A., Niklas J.L., Zhang H., Davison W., Røyset O. and Steinnes E. (2006) Dynamic Aspects of DGT as demonstrated by experiments with lanthanide complexes of a multidentate ligande. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40: 4754-4760.
Gustafsson, J.P. 2006. Visual MINTEQ version 2.51. http://www.lwr.kth.se/English/OurSoftware/vminteq/index.htm. Stockholm, Sweden, December 2006.
Main supervisor: Prof. Mats Åström
Co-supervisor: Dr. Henrik Drake and Dr. Pasi Peltola
M.Sc. in Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Novosibirsk State University (Russia)
B.Sc. in Geology, Geochemistry, Novosibirsk State University (Russia)