Current Role at Stanford

Lab Manager, ICP-MS / TIMS facility

All Publications

  • Isotopic Fingerprint of Uranium Accumulation and Redox Cycling in Floodplains of the Upper Colorado River Basin. Environmental science & technology Lefebvre, P., Noel, V., Lau, K. V., Jemison, N. E., Weaver, K. L., Williams, K. H., Bargar, J. R., Maher, K. 2019


    Uranium (U) groundwater contamination is a major concern at numerous former mining and milling sites across the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), USA, where U(IV)-bearing solids have accumulated within naturally reduced zones (NRZs). Understanding the processes governing U reduction and oxidation within NRZs is critical for assessing the persistence of U in groundwater. To evaluate the redox cycling of uranium, we measured the U concentrations and isotopic compositions (delta238U) of sediments and pore waters from four study sites across the UCRB that span a gradient in sediment texture and composition. We observe that U accumulation occurs primarily within fine-grained (low-permeability) NRZs that show active redox variations. Low-permeability NRZs display high accumulation and low export of U, with internal redox cycling of U. In contrast, within high-permeability NRZs, U is remobilized under oxidative conditions, possibly without any fractionation, and transported outside the NRZs. The low delta238U of sediments outside of defined NRZs suggests that these reduced zones act as additional U sources. Collectively, our results indicate that fine-grained NRZs have a greater potential to retain uranium, whereas NRZs with higher permeability may constitute a more-persistent but dilute U source.

    View details for PubMedID 30807121

  • Thermodynamic controls on redox-driven kinetic stable isotope fractionation Geochemical Perspectives Letters Joe-Wong, C., Weaver, K. L., Brown, S. T., Maher, K. 2019: 20-25

    View details for DOI 10.7185/geochemlet.1909

  • Uranium isotope evidence for an expansion of marine anoxia during the end-Triassic extinction Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems Jost, A. B., Bachan, A., Van De Schootbrugge, B., Lau, K. V., Weaver, K. L., Maher Kate, Payne, J. L. 2017; 18

    View details for DOI 10.1002/2017GC006941

  • Isotopic Evidence for Reductive Immobilization of Uranium Across a Roll-Front Mineral Deposit ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Brown, S. T., Basu, A., Christensen, J. N., Reimus, P., Heikoop, J., Simmons, A., WoldeGabriel, G., Maher, K., Weaver, K., Clay, J., DePaolo, D. J. 2016; 50 (12): 6189-6198


    We use uranium (U) isotope ratios to detect and quantify the extent of natural U reduction in groundwater across a roll front redox gradient. Our study was conducted at the Smith Ranch-Highland in situ recovery (ISR) U mine in eastern Wyoming, USA, where economic U deposits occur in the Paleocene Fort Union formation. To evaluate the fate of aqueous U in and adjacent to the ore body, we investigated the chemical composition and isotope ratios of groundwater samples from the roll-front type ore body and surrounding monitoring wells of a previously mined area. The (238)U/(235)U of groundwater varies by approximately 3‰ and is correlated with U concentrations. Fluid samples down-gradient of the ore zone are the most depleted in (238)U and have the lowest U concentrations. Activity ratios of (234)U/(238)U are ∼5.5 up-gradient of the ore zone, ∼1.0 in the ore zone, and between 2.3 and 3.7 in the down-gradient monitoring wells. High-precision measurements of (234)U/(238)U and (238)U/(235)U allow for development of a conceptual model that evaluates both the migration of U from the ore body and the extent of natural attenuation due to reduction. We find that the premining migration of U down-gradient of the delineated ore body is minimal along eight transects due to reduction in or adjacent to the ore body, whereas two other transects show little or no sign of reduction in the down-gradient region. These results suggest that characterization of U isotopic ratios at the mine planning stage, in conjunction with routine geochemical analyses, can be used to identify where more or less postmining remediation will be necessary.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.6b00626

    View details for Web of Science ID 000378469900010

    View details for PubMedID 27203292

  • Marine anoxia and delayed Earth system recovery after the end-Permian extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Lau, K. V., Maher, K., Altiner, D., Kelley, B. M., Kump, L. R., Lehrmann, D. J., Silva-Tamayo, J. C., Weaver, K. L., Yu, M., Payne, J. L. 2016; 113 (9): 2360-2365


    Delayed Earth system recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction is often attributed to severe ocean anoxia. However, the extent and duration of Early Triassic anoxia remains poorly constrained. Here we use paired records of uranium concentrations ([U]) and (238)U/(235)U isotopic compositions (δ(238)U) of Upper Permian-Upper Triassic marine limestones from China and Turkey to quantify variations in global seafloor redox conditions. We observe abrupt decreases in [U] and δ(238)U across the end-Permian extinction horizon, from ∼3 ppm and -0.15‰ to ∼0.3 ppm and -0.77‰, followed by a gradual return to preextinction values over the subsequent 5 million years. These trends imply a factor of 100 increase in the extent of seafloor anoxia and suggest the presence of a shallow oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that inhibited the recovery of benthic animal diversity and marine ecosystem function. We hypothesize that in the Early Triassic oceans-characterized by prolonged shallow anoxia that may have impinged onto continental shelves-global biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystem structure became more sensitive to variation in the position of the OMZ. Under this hypothesis, the Middle Triassic decline in bottom water anoxia, stabilization of biogeochemical cycles, and diversification of marine animals together reflect the development of a deeper and less extensive OMZ, which regulated Earth system recovery following the end-Permian catastrophe.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1515080113

    View details for PubMedID 26884155

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4780601

  • A spatially resolved surface kinetic model for forsterite dissolution GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA Maher, K., Johnson, N. C., Jackson, A., Lammers, L. N., Torchinsky, A. B., Weaver, K. L., Bird, D. K., Brown, G. E. 2016; 174: 313-334
  • Rise and fall of late Pleistocene pluvial lakes in response to reduced evaporation and precipitation: Evidence from Lake Surprise, California GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA BULLETIN Ibarra, D. E., Egger, A. E., Weaver, K. L., Harris, C. R., Maher, K. 2014; 126 (11-12): 1387-1415

    View details for DOI 10.1130/B31014.1