National Research Program

Geochemical Cycling of Trace Elements and Nutrients in Natural Water Systems

Natural water systems provide a wide range of conditions within which to examine the geochemical behavior and cycling of trace elements and nutrients relative to hydrochemically important mineral reactions. Processes of mineral dissolution, alteration and genesis exert strong controls on the concentrations of chemical species in natural water systems and thus on water quality. Chemical composition of atmospheric precipitation input to terrestrial watersheds affects mineral reaction rates and may regulate reaction pathways and products. Knowledge of the geochemical behavior and cycles of major elements, trace elements, and nutrients is essential in order to understand and predict the consequences of deliberate or accidental anthropogenic additions of these substances to the environment. Objectives of this project are: to define the role of mineral-water interactions in determining the chemical composition of natural waters with emphasis on major elements, trace elements and nutrients; to quantitatively describe the geochemical behavior of these species in fresh-water, estuarine and marine environments; and to assess the impacts of anthropogenic contributions on natural cycles in these systems and to evaluate the hydrogeochemistry of major elements, trace elements and nutrients as it relates to water resource utilization.


Simon, N.S., Bricker, O.P., Newell, W., McCoy, J., and Morawe, R., 2005, The distribution of phosphorus in Popes Creek, VA, and in the Pocomoke River, MD: Two Watersheds with Different Land Management Practices in the Chesapeake Bay Basin: Water, Air and Soil Pollution, v. 164, no. 1-4, p. 189-204. (on-line abstract of journal article)

Bricker, O.P., Newell, W.L., and Simon, N.S., 2004, Bog iron formation in the Nassawango Creek watershed, Maryland, USA, in Martin-Duque, J.F., Brebbia, C.A., Godfrey, A.E., and Diaz De Teran, J.R., eds., Geo-Environment 2004 - Proceedings of the First International Conference on Monitoring, Simulation and Remediation of the Geological Environment, 5-7 July 2004, Los Arcos Hotel, Segovia, Spain: Southampton, U.K., WIT press, p. 13-33.

Conko, K.M., Rice, K.C., Kennedy, M.M., 2004, Atmospheric Wet Deposition of Trace Elements to a Suburban Environment, Reston, Virginia, USA, Atmospheric Environment, v. 38, p. 4025-4033. (on-line abstract)

Newell, W.L., Clark, I., and Bricker, O., 2004, Distribution of Holocene sediment in Chesapeake Bay as interpreted from submarine geomorphology of the submerged landforms, selected core holes, bridge borings and seismic profiles: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1235. (on-line report)

Bricker, O.P., Jones, B.F., and Bowser, C.J., 2003, Mass-balance approach to interpreting weathering reactions, in Drever, J.I., ed., Surface and Ground Water, Weathering and Soils, Treatise on Geochemistry, v. 5, chap 4: New York, Elsevier, p. 119-132.

Bricker, O.P., Newell, W.L., Simon, N.S, 2003, Bog iron formation in the Nassawango Watershed, Maryland: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-0346. (on-line report)

Cronin, T., Halka, J., Phillips, S., and Bricker, O., 2003, Estuarine sediment sources. in Langland, M., and Cronin, T., eds., A summary report of sediment processes in Chesapeake Bay and watershed: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resouces Investigations Report 03-4123, chapt. 5, p. 49-60. (access to on-line chapter in pdf format)

Barlow, R.A., Brakebill, J.W., Bratton, J.F., Blazer, V.S., Bohlke, J.F., Bricker, O.P., Colman, S.M., Cronin, T.M., Hupp, C.R., Keough, J.R., Landwehr, J.M., Langland, M.J., Newell, W.L., Perry, M.C., Phillips, S.W., Preston, S.D., Rybicki, N.B., Simon, N.S., Willard, D.A., Phillips, S.W., 2002, The U.S. Geological Survey and the Chesapeake Bay - The role of science in environmental restoration: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1220. (on-line report)

For information on additional projects in the National Research Program, see Indexes to NRP projects and bibliographies

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