John Rakovan and Elisabeth Widom, professors of geology and environmental earth science, have been awarded grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to pursue research in Poland and Mexico, respectively, for spring and summer 2012.
Rakovan was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research at AGH-University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland. The experimental component of the work was also recently funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, “Coprecipitation of Pb and As in apatite and applications to environmental remediation.” Rakovan’s project will include a site-specific case study at a former smelting facility in the United States with known arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) contamination of local sediments, and investigation of potential application to surface tailings of the Silesian-Cracow zinc and lead deposits, Poland.
The results of this study “will greatly increase our knowledge of the fundamental mineralogy of some of the least understood apatite group minerals with wide geologic implications, for example the study of ore deposit petrogenesis, and the general geochemical cycling of arsenic and lead,” said Rakovan.
Widom has been awarded a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship to pursue research at the Instituto de Geofisica at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, Mexico. Her Fulbright project, “Volcanic Processes and Hazards in the Central Mexican Volcanic Belt,” builds on a currently funded NSF grant that Widom received for a geochemical and isotopic study of two volcanoes in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, Parícutin and Jorullo, both of which have erupted in historic times.
The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt is a highly active volcanic region that threatens numerous population centers in Mexico, including Mexico City. Widom’s research in Mexico will involve a combination of detailed fieldwork and geochemical and isotopic analysis of volcanic rock samples to investigate the processes and timescales leading to volcanism in this region.
The Fulbright Scholar Program, sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year.