John G. Arnason (Ph.D., 1995, Stanford University)

Dr. Arnason resigned as Assistant Professor in October 2008.

Courses taught 2007-08
GEO 100N Planet Earth
GEO210 Mineralogy
GEO 212 Earth Materials Laboratory
GEO 420/520 Instrumental Methods in Environmental Science

John Arnason
          in East Greenland - link to 38K .jpgResearch Interests to October 2008 (archival significance only)

My students and I are interested in problems regarding the transport and fate of inorganic contaminants, in urban watersheds and airsheds. Our research focuses on analysis of soils, sediments and surface waters to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of contaminants, their physical and chemical forms, and their potential to impact on ecosystems and human health. Our methods involve field mapping and sampling, physical and chemical analysis, and theoretical modeling. At present, all of our studies are based in Patroon Creek, a highly urbanized and contaminated watershed located in northern Albany County, NY.
Current projects include:
1) Mineralogy and geochemistry of depleted uranium (DU) in Patroon Reservoir sediments. We have documented the concentrations and isotopic composition of natural and anthropogenic uranium deposited in reservoir sediments located downstream of a former DU processing plant. DU is radioactive and chemically toxic. In the reservoir sediments, it occurs as discrete, microscopic particles that were transported and deposited by atmospheric and river processes. Using electron microprobe facilities at nearby Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, we are characterizing these particles in order to understand their origin, mode of transport, and solubility. 
2) Solid phase speciation of mercury (Hg) in sediment of Patroon Creek. Significant Hg contamination occurs in sediments of Patroon Creek, downstream of a former mercury refinery, now a Superfund Site. The goals of this project are to determine how the solid phase speciation (chemical form) of Hg is controlled by physical and chemical variation in the host sediments and how Hg changes its form with time and distance from the source.
3) Fate and transport of road de-icing chemicals in the Patroon Creek Watershed. This project addresses the question “What happens to deicing chemicals, i.e. sodium chloride, applied to roadways and parking lots in the watershed?” We hypothesize that soils are retaining de-icing salts during the winter and releasing them to the stream in the summer. In order to test this idea, we are comparing seasonal inputs from precipitation and salt application to outputs via stream discharge. Net differences between input and output would be the result of interactions among runoff, soils and groundwater.

Graduate students supervised by Professor J.G. Arnason at the University at Albany

Selected Publications

Parrish, R. R., M. Horstwood, J. G. Arnason, S. Chenery, T. Brewer, N. S. Lloyd, D. O. Carpenter, Depleted uranium contamination by inhalation exposure and its detection after >25 years: implications for health assessment, Environmental Health Perspectives, submitted.

Madden, S.S., G. R Robinson, , and J. G. Arnason, Riparian buffer size predicts biological but not chemical stream properties in a rural New York watershed, submitted to Northeastern Naturalist, submitted.

Lo, D., R. L. Fleischer , E. A. Albert , and J. G. Arnason, 2006, Location, identification, and particle size distribution of depleted uranium grains in reservoir sediments, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, in press.

Arnason, J. G. and B. A. Fletcher, 2003, A 40+ year record of Cd, Hg, Pb, and U deposition in sediments of Patroon Reservoir, Albany County, NY, USA, Environmental Pollution, vol 123, pp. 383-391.

Arnason, J. G. and D. K. Bird, 2000, A gold- and platinum-mineralized layer in gabbros of the Kap Edvard Holm complex: field, petrologic, and geochemical relations, Economic Geology, v. 95, pp. 945-970.

Arnason, J. G., Bird, D. K., Bernstein, S., and Kelemen, P. B., 1997, Gold and platinum-group element mineralization in the Kruuse Fjord Gabbro Complex, East Greenland, Economic Geology, v. 92, pp. 490-501.

Arnason, J. G., Bird, D. K., Bernstein, S., Rose, N. M., and Manning, C. E., 1997, Petrology and geochemistry of the Kruuse Fjord Gabbro Complex, East Greenland, Geological Magazine, v. 134, pp. 67-89.

Bird, D. K., Arnason, J. G., Brandriss, M. E., Nevle, R. J., Radford, G., Bernstein, S., Gannicott, R. A., and Kelemen, P. B., 1995, A gold-bearing horizon in the Kap Edvard Holm Complex, East Greenland, Economic Geology, v. 90, pp. 1288-1300.

Return to Geological Sciences Directory

Return to Geological Sciences index page