Orange County Chapter

Program, April 2012

The High (Health and Environmental) Costs of Mining:
Arsenic Contamination in Gold Mines

Monday, April 9, 7-9 pm

The history of gold mining in the state of California has left an unintended environmental legacy of arsenic contamination in mine tailings and waste piles. A combination of field sampling, synchrotron X-ray analysis, and lab studies conducted by the Environmental Geochemistry Lab at Chapman University has provided a thorough understanding of the distribution, chemical speciation, and potential bioaccessibility/toxicity of arsenic in abandoned mine regions across southern California.

A wide variety of computational/mathematical methods including linear least squares combinatorial fitting routines, exponential power-law decay models, and geospatial mapping and analysis was employed, developed, and/or refined to obtain the results presented. These findings will assist regulatory agencies in determining the best strategies for site remediation and prioritization to ensure adequate protection of communities and the environment from health hazards associated with arsenic.

Dr Christopher Kim is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at Chapman University. He received an AB from the Department of Geology at Princeton University and a PhD from the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. Following a post-doctoral research fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he came to Chapman in 2004. He also recently completed a sabbatical at Harvard University from 2010-2011.

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