Ma'in Zaid Alghzawi

Graduate Student, PhD


Jon Chorover, PhD


Environmental Science


Many environmental issues have been raised over the years due to high concentrations of toxic metals (e.g., As, Pb, Zn) in mine tailings. These toxic metals pose significant health risks to ecosystems and neighboring communities when they mix with natural water, soil particles, and wind. Understanding the behavior of toxic metals and the factors controlling their speciation in tailings sites is crucial to identifying effective management plans. It is crucial to study the changes taking place on the molecular form (speciation) of metals in different climatic scenarios for the purpose of improving our capabilities in assessing risks associated with toxic metals deposited in mine tailings sites. The transformations of arsenic and toxic metals caused by weathering process can change their bioavailability and yield particles of higher or lower toxicity than particles originally present in mine tailings. We are aiming to evaluate the weathering processes in different mining sites spanning a wide range in climate. Our hypothesis is that we will be able to predict the bioavailability of toxic metals by quantifying the speciation of these metals under different environmental conditions. This project will enable the collection of a reactive transport dataset to identify the biogeochemical reactions controlling metals transformation under different conditions. The data collected will be used in implementing a reactive transport and fate model of tailings diagenesis that will serve as a predictive tool for accurate health risk assessment.