Current Role at Stanford


Lab Manager, ICP-MS / TIMS facility

All Publications


  • Complexation by Organic Matter Controls Uranium Mobility in Anoxic Sediments. Environmental science & technology Bone, S. E., Cliff, J., Weaver, K., Takacs, C. J., Roycroft, S., Fendorf, S., Bargar, J. R. 2020

    Abstract

    Uranium contamination threatens the availability of safe and clean drinking water globally. This toxic element occurs both naturally and as a result of mining and ore-processing in alluvial sediments, where it accumulates as tetravalent U [U(IV)], a form once considered largely immobile. Changing hydrologic and geochemical conditions cause U to be released into groundwater. Knowledge of the chemical form(s) of U(IV) is essential to understand the release mechanism, yet the relevant U(IV) species are poorly characterized. There is growing belief that natural organic matter (OM) binds U(IV) and mediates its fate in the subsurface. In this work, we combined nanoscale imaging (nano secondary ion mass spectrometry and scanning transmission X-ray microscopy) with a density-based fractionation approach to physically and microscopically isolate organic and mineral matter from alluvial sediments contaminated with uranium. We identified two populations of U (dominantly +IV) in anoxic sediments. Uranium was retained on OM and adsorbed to particulate organic carbon, comprising both microbial and plant material. Surprisingly, U was also adsorbed to clay minerals and OM-coated clay minerals. The dominance of OM-associated U provides a framework to understand U mobility in the shallow subsurface, and, in particular, emphasizes roles for desorption and colloid formation in its mobilization.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b04741

    View details for PubMedID 31886668

  • Sources of Blood Lead Exposure in Rural Bangladesh ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Forsyth, J. E., Weaver, K. L., Maher, K., Islam, M., Raqib, R., Rahman, M., Fendorf, S., Luby, S. P. 2019; 53 (19): 11429–36

    Abstract

    Lead (Pb) exposure is a major public health problem worldwide. Although high levels of Pb in blood in Bangladesh have been documented, the dominant Pb sources contributing to human exposure in rural Bangladesh have not been determined. Here, we first obtained blood from pregnant women from three rural Bangladeshi districts who were previously assessed by a case-control and sampling study, and we then conducted semistructured in-depth interviews to understand Pb exposure behavior and finally collected samples of the suspected Pb sources. We measured the Pb isotopic composition of both potential Pb sources and 45 blood samples in order to understand which of three sources predominate: (1) food from Pb-soldered cans, (2) turmeric, or (3) geophagous materials (clay, soil, or ash). The Pb isotope ratios of the three sources are distinct (p = 0.0001) and blood isotope ratios are most similar to turmeric. Elevated lead and chromium (Cr) concentrations in turmeric and a yellow pigment used in turmeric processing are consistent with reported consumption behavior that indicated turmeric as a primary contributor to blood Pb. The Pb isotopic composition analyses combined with a case-control and sampling approach provides evidence that turmeric adulterated with the yellow Pb-bearing pigment is the main Pb exposure source in these districts and illustrates the need to assess drivers and practices of turmeric adulteration, as well as the prevalence of adulteration across South Asia.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b00744

    View details for Web of Science ID 000488993500041

    View details for PubMedID 31525910

  • 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

    Abstract

    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

    Abstract

    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

    Abstract

    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