Andrea Foster, Ph.D.


I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and attended high school in Bloomington, Indiana and Frankfort, Kentucky, graduating in 1988. I was a matriculated geology major at Howard University (Washington, DC) and Indiana University (Bloomington), obtaining my BS Geology from the latter institution in 1992. I obtained my PhD from Stanford University (geochemistry) in 1999. The same year, I begain my employment at the U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park.



1992-1999 Stanford University, Ph.D., Geological and Environmental Sciences

Thesis Title: Partitioning and Transformation of Arsenic and Selenium in Natural and Laboratory Systems

1990-1992 Indiana University, B.S., Geology, (with Honors); Mathematics minor

1988-1990 Howard University, Geology major



2010 Soft X-ray Summer School, Stanford University

2006    Multivariate Analysis of Hydrological, Biological, and Chemical

Data (ID 3045), USGS, Denver, CO. (5 days)

2000    Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy: Better Understanding and Usage of the SEM for Lab Work, USGS, Menlo Park (2 days)

1999    Assisted use/training in TEM/AEM at the National Center for Electron Microscopy, Berkeley, CA (2 days)

1999    Synchrotron-based powder XRD short course, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (1 day)

1998    Geomicrobiological Research in Norm Pace’s microbiology lab, Berkeley, CA (3 months)

1998    Microbial Diversity Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA (8 weeks)



Investigating the relationhip between arsenic solid-phase speciation and arsenic relative bioaccessibility and bioavailability 

Improving EPA's chromate extraction method though spectroscopic quantification of solid-phase chromate

Identifying solid-phase species of chromium and the potential for redox transformations of Cr in the vicinity of Hinkley, CA

Investigation of gallium and rare earth element speciation in acid-sulfate alteration haloes of mineral deposits

Development of micro-Raman spectroscopic methods for in-situ measurement of dissolved and solid-phase toxic elements and micro-mineralogical ID



Toxicity of tellurium and other scarce, technologically-important trace elements in aquatic invertebrates

Spectroscopic studies of tellurium mineralogy to support studies of tellurium in mine wastes

Arsenic solid-phase speciation at the Lava Cap Mine Superfund Site, Nevada City, CA

Arsenic solid-phase speciation in surface and aquifer sediments from Bangladesh

Feasibililty studies for passive bioreactor using Leptothrix, a ferric-hydroxide precipitating bacterium

Microbial community diversity in mining-impacted intertidal zones of Prince William Sound, AK.

Toxicity of water in intertidal zones impacted by mining of VMS deposits, Prince William Sound, AK

Composition and diversity of mercury-methylating microbial communities in reconstructed wetlands, Clear Creek, Redding, CA

Selenium and chromium solid-phase speciation in surface phosphate mine wastes and core sediments in the Western US phosphate field

Arsenic speciation in acidic and basic coal and flyash

Cadmium speciation in natural and plantation-grown willow (Salix) species


1.      Foster, A.L., Brown Jr., G.E., Parks, G.A., Tingle, T.N., Voigt, D.E., Brantley S.L. (1997). XAFS determination of As(V) associated with Fe(III) oxyhydroxides in weathered mine tailings and contaminated soil from California, U. S. A. Supplément au Journal de Physique IV de France 7,  pp. 815-816.

2.      Foster, A.L., Brown Jr., G.E., Tingle, T.N., Parks, G.A. (1998). Quantitative arsenic speciation in mine tailings using X-ray absorption spectroscopy.  American Mineralogist 83, pp. 553-568.

3.      Foster, A.L., Brown Jr., G.E., Parks, G.A. (1998). X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopic study of photocatalyzed, heterogeneous As(III) oxidation on kaolin and anatase.  Environmental Science and Technology32, pp. 1444-1452.

4.      Brown Jr., G.E., Foster A.L., Ostergren, J.D. (1999). Mineral surfaces and bioavailability of heavy metals: A molecular-scale perspective.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 96, pp. 3388-3395.

5.      Templeton, A.S.,  Ostergren, J., Trainor, T., Foster, A., Spormann, A., Traina, S., Brown Jr. G.E. (1999). XAFS and XSW studies of the distribution and chemical speciation of Pb sorbed to biofilms on SiO2, Al2O3 and FeOOH surfaces. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 6, pp. 42-44.

6.      Foster, A.L., Ashley, R.P., Rytuba, J.J. (2000).  Direct and in-situ speciation of arsenic in microbian [sic] mats using X-ray absorption spectroscopy.  Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine 6, pp. 62-64.

7.      Foster A.L., Ashley R.P. (2002). Characterization of arsenic species in microbial mats from an inactive gold mine. Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis 2, pp. 253-261.

8.      Foster, A.L., Brown Jr. G.E., Parks, G.A. (2003). XAFS Study of As(V) and Se(IV) Sorption Complexes on Hydrous Mn Oxides. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, pp. 1937-1953.

9.      Rytuba, J.J., John, D.A., Foster, A. Ludington, S.D., Kotlyar, B. (2003). Hydrothermal Enrichment of Gallium in Zones of Advanced Argillic Alteration-Examples from the Paradise Peak and McDermitt Ore Deposits, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2209C, Bliss, J.D., Moyle, P.R. and Long, K.R., eds., 1-16.  Foster A.L. (2003). Spectroscopic Investigations of Arsenic Species in Solid Phases. In Arsenic in Ground Water, K. Stollenwerk and A. H. Welch, Eds. Kulwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, MA, pp. 27-65.

11.  Theodore, T.G., Kotlyar, B.B., Singer, D.A., Berger, V.I., Abbott, E.W., Foster, A.L. (2003). Applied Geochemistry, Geology, and Mineralogy of the Northern Carlin Gold Trend, Nevada. Economic Geology 98, pp.287-316.

12.  Paktunc, D., Foster, A, Laflamme G. (2003). Speciation and characterization of arsenic in Ketza River mine tailings using X-ray abosorption spectroscopy. Environmental Science and Technology 37, pp. 2067-2074.

13.  Breit, G.N., Foster, A.L., Perkins, R.B., Yount, J.C., King, T., Welch, A.H., Whitney, J.W., Uddin, M. N., Muneemn A.A., Alam, M.M.(2004) As-rich ferric oxyhydroxide enrichments in the shallow subsurface of Bangladesh in,Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on Water-Rock Interaction, Wanty, R.B., and Seal, R.R., eds., A.A. Balkema Publishers, New York, pp.1457-1461.

14.  Grauch, R.I., Desborough, G.A., Meeker, G. P. Foster, A.L. Tysdal, R.G., Herring, J.R., Lowers, H.A., Ball, B.A., Zelinski, R.A., Johnson, E.A. (2004). Petrogenesis and Mineralogic Residence of Selected Elements in the Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale Member of the Permian Phosphoria Formation, Southeast Idaho. In Life Cycle of the Phosphoria Formation: From Deposition to Post-Mining Environment. J.R. Hein, Ed., Elsevier, San Francisco, pp. 189-218.

15.  Perkins, R.B. and Foster, A.L. (2004). Mineral Affinities and Distribution of Selenium and Other Trace Elements in Black Shale and Phosphorite of the Phosphoria Formation. In Life Cycle of the Phosphoria Formation: From Deposition to Post-Mining Environment. J.R. Hein, Ed., Elsevier, San Francisco, pp. 251-295.

16.  Paktunc, D., Foster, A., Heald, S., Laflamme, G. (2004). Speciation and characterization of arsenic in gold ores and cyanidation tailings using X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68 pp. 969-983.

17.  Welch, A.H., Stollenwerk, K.G., Breit, G.N., Foster, A.L., Yount, J.C., Whitney, J.W., Uddin, M.N., Alam, M.M., Islam, M.S. (2006). Attenuation of arsenic in Bangladesh sediments: Implications for groundwater development. InManaging Arsenic in the Environment: From Soil to Human Health. R. Nadu, E. Smith, G. Owens, P. Battacharya, and P. Nadebaum, Eds., CSIRO Publishers, Collingwood Australia, pp. 363-377.

18.  Zielinski, R.A., Foster, A.L., Meeker, G.P., Brownfield, I.K. (2006). Mode of occurrence of arsenic in feed coal and its derivative fly ash, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama. Fuel 86, 560-572.

19.  Balistrieri, L.S., Foster, A.L., Gough, L.P., Gray, F., Rytuba J.J., and Stillings, L.L. (2007). Understanding metal pathways in mineralized ecosystems. USGS Circular 1317, 12 p.

20.  Gough, L.P., Lamothe, P.J., Sanzolone, R.F., Crock, J.G., Foster, A.L., (2007). Cadmium mobility and bioaccumulation by willow in Denali National park and Preserve and elsewhere in Alaska: U.S. National Park Service, Alaska Park Science6, pp. 51-54.

21.  Lowers, H.A, Breit, G.N., Foster, A.L., Whitney, J., Yount, J., Uddin, M.N., Muneem, A.A. (2007). Arsenic incorporation into authigenic pyrite, Bengal Basin sediment, Bangladesh. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71, pp. 2699-2717.

22.  Stollenwerk, K.G., Breit, G.N., Welch, A.H., Yount, J.C., Whitney, J.W., Foster, A.L., Uddin, M.N., Majumder, R.K., Ahmed, N. (2007). Arsenic attenuation by oxidized aquifer sediments in Bangladesh. Science of the Total Environment 379, pp.133-150. 

23        Koski, R.A., Munk, L., Foster, A.L., Shanks, W.C., and Stillings, L.L., 2008, Sulfide oxidation and distribution of metals near abandoned copper mines in coastal environments, Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA: Applied Geochemistry, 23, p. 227-254. (concept/design: 10%; data production: 15%, interpretation: 0% writing: 5%) # citations: 11.

24 Stillings, L.L., Foster, A.L., Koski, R.A., Munk, L., and Shanks, W.C., 2008, Temporal variation and the effect of rainfall on metals flux from the historic Beatson mine, Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA: Applied Geochemistry, 23, p. 255-278.

25  Foster, A.L., Munk, L., Koski, R.A., Shanks, W.C., and Stillings, L.L., 2008, Relationships between microbial communities and environmental parameters at sites impacted by mining of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits, Prince William Sound, Alaska: Applied Geochemistry, 23, p. 279-307.

26  Mukherjee, A., Bhattacharya, P., Savage, K., Foster, A., and Bundschuh, J., 2008, Distribution of geogenic arsenic in hydrologic systems: Controls and challenges: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 99, p. 1-7.

27  Foster, A. L., and Koski, R. A., 2008, Chapter E: Chemical data for precipitate samples inChemical data for rock, sediment, biological, precipitate, and water samples from abandoned copper mines in Prince William Sound, Alaska: (eds. Munk L., and Koski, R. A.), USGS Open File Report 2007-1359.

28      Courtin-Nomade, A., Grosbois, C., Marcus, M.A., Fakra, S.C., Beny, J.-M., and Foster, A.L., 2009, The weathering of a sulfide orebody: speciation and fate of some potential contaminants: The Canadian Mineralogist, 47, p. 493-508.

29  Foster, A.L., Ona-Nguema, G., Tufano, K., and White III, R., 2009, Temporal Chemical Data for Sediment, Water, and Biological Samples from the Lava Cap Mine Superfund Site, Nevada County, California--2006-2008: USGS Open File Report 2009-1268.

30           Ona-Nguema, G., Morin, G., Wang, Y., Foster, A.L., Juillot, F., Calas, G., and Brown, G.E., Jr., 2010, XANES evidence for rapid arsenic(III) oxidation at magnetite and ferrihydrite surfaces by dissolved O2 via Fe2+-mediated reactions: Environmental Science and Technology, 44, p. 5416-5422.

31     Foster, A.L., Ashley, R.P., and Rytuba, J. J., 2011, Arsenic species in weathering mine tailings and biogenic solids at the Lava Cap Mine Superfund Site, Nevada City, CA: Geochemical Transactions, 12, p. 1.

32. Ilgen, A.G., Foster, A. L., and Trainor, T.T, 2012  Role of structural Fe in nontronite NAu-1 and dissolved Fe(II) in redox transformations of arsenic and antimony. 25 single-spaced, double-column pages. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta v 94, 128-145.