The hydrosphere and lithosphere intersect in a zone a few kilometres wide at the earth’s surface, resulting in the formation of magmas, metamorphic rocks and mineral deposits, and placing important controls on the evolution of landscapes. This interaction imparts chemistry to waters and provides the essential environment for ecosystems to flourish. It affects the transport and fate of pollutants in groundwater and surface water systems, influences the stability of landscapes and sub-surface structures and provides an important feedback mechanism for controlling carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
New analytical instrumentation and methods have allowed unprecedented characterization of the sources of, and processes affecting, the chemical constituents of water. Novel field and laboratory-based approaches have revealed the atomic level of the mineral-water interface and the critical role that microbes play in many water-rock interactions, including the toxification and detoxification of the environment. Our window into the higher temperature and pressure world of geothermal waters increasingly widens as new theoretical and experimental approaches are perfected. The need to confront society’s impact on the environment has led to innovative field-based and theoretical studies of our ability to sequester waste products effectively and safely within the earth, to develop new methods to treat wastes before they are returned to the environment, and to greater understanding of the limits of sustainability of our water and mineral resources.
In 2007, WRI-12 attracted more than 400 geoscientists from over 25 countries to Kunming, China. For this WRI symposium, approximately half of the 350 papers were from Chinese scientists, attesting to the increasing impact their science is having on the world stage.
- Magmatic, metamorphic and geothermal processes
- Water-rock interaction in tectonically active regions, ore deposits
and ore forming processes
- Deep fluids and geothermal fluids
- Thermodynamic and kinetic modeling of water-rock interaction
- Mineral-water interactions: from mineral surfaces to watersheds
- Marine geochemistry, basin hydrogeology and sedimentary geochemistry
- Waste storage, disposal and utilization, CO2 and SO2 sequestration and
remediation of contaminated sites
- Stable and radiogenic isotopes, tracers for hydrogeochemical studies
- Organic geochemistry, biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology
- Water-rock interaction processes in groundwater and sedimentary systems
- Groundwater quality
- Karst geochemistry
- Environmental geochemistry
- Gas-soil-water interactions and solute transport in the vadose zone
- Geohazards and water-rock interactions
- Geochemical cycles and global environmental change
- Applied environmental chemistry
- Additional contributions