Isotope techniques for studying nitrate dynamics at Goldschmidt 2019

At the recent 2019 conference in Barcelona our researcher Izabela Bujak (ESR3) gave a talk entitled "Integrated isotope techniques to investigate nitrate dynamics along a land-use gradient in a mesoscale river catchment.”


Goldschmidt is the foremost annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organised by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society.

As we all love data, here are some numbers for Goldschmidt 2019 conference:

  • 4,075 delegates who travelled from 74 different countries
  • 14 themes and 121 sessions
  • 4,032 abstracts
  • 2,395 talks including 479 flash talks
  • 2,208 posters
  • 17 pre-conference workshops attended by 444 participants

Because Izabela is fascinated by the great range of possibilities which isotope techniques offer to trace water and contaminant flow paths, she chose to participate in the workshops dedicated to the application of environmental isotopes and CSIA in contaminated groundwater studies.

The course aimed to present the latest advancement in the applications of compound-specific isotopes analysis (CSIA) as well as environmental isotopes in characterising and assessing contaminated sites.

The course covered the application of environmental isotopes, 13C, 2H, 18O, 15N, 34S, 87Sr/86Sr, 37Cl, 81Br, 11B and Tritium, to trace the origin of contaminants and the attenuation processes that take place in the aquifer. Many case studies were presented during the workshop.

The topics comprise groundwater pollution from agricultural sources (nitrate), industrial activities (e.g., LNAPLs, DNAPLs) as well as urban activities. Furthermore, the course was designed to present the latest advancement in 13C-CSIA, 37Cl-CSIA, 81Br-CSIA, and 2H-CSIA.

Isotopes have been successfully used in determining the source of contaminations, understanding the fate of contaminants in the groundwater, and evaluating the effectiveness of remediation actions including the performance assessment for a broad range of biological (natural and enhanced), chemical (e.g. in situ chemical oxidation [ISCO] and permeable reactive barriers [PRB] and physical (e.g. thermal treatment and pump and treat) remediation strategies.