Elizabeth M. Herndon
I am an environmental geochemist interested in the interactions between minerals, water, and biota that shape the Critical Zone – the thin surface of the Earth’s crust from groundwater to canopy that supports life. In particular, my research focuses on human perturbation of the environment through changes in land use, contamination, and climate change. I’m interested in how these perturbations influence the transport of elements through watersheds, e.g. from air into soils, and from soils into vegetation and river systems.
In order to examine biogeochemical processes across multiple scales, my research incorporates a variety of methods such as field sampling, laboratory experiments, analytical techniques (both in-house and at national laboratories), and theoretical modeling. Recent projects include: 1) understanding the influence of warming on iron, carbon, and nutrient cycling in tundra soils, and 2) investigating metal biogeochemistry in coal mine waste and acid mine drainage.