Carleton Bern, PhD


I am a Research Soil Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Colorado Water Science Center. My research examines the geochemical interactions between water, rock, and soil in both natural and human-managed systems. I specialize in using isotopes and geochemical tracers to answer questions of both basic and applied research. Areas of focus in my recent work include:

(1) Salinity in surface waters and soils of the semiarid western U.S.

(2) Water quality in relation to uranium mining

(3) Improving the 100-year-old methodology for quantifying soil geochemical development

(4) Applying stable isotopes of water to understanding water availability in the Headwaters of the Colorado and Gunnison River Basin as part of the USGS Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS)


Selected Recent Publications:

Bern, C.R., Holmberg, M., Kisfalusi, Z., 2020. Salt flushing, salt storage, and controls on selenium and uranium: A 31-year mass-balance analysis of an irrigated, semiarid valley. Journal of the American Water Resources Association: Paper No. JAWRA‐19‐0062‐P, (Open access)

Bern, C.R., Holmberg, M.J., Kisfalusi, Z.D., 2020. Effects of John Martin Reservoir, Colorado on water quality and quantity: Assessment by chemical, isotopic, and mass-balance methods. Journal of Hydrology X, 7: 100051, (Open access)

Bern, C.R., Walton-Day, K., Naftz, D., 2019. Improved enrichment factor calculations through principal component analysis: Examples from soils near breccia pipe uranium mines, Arizona, USA. Environmental Pollution, 248: 90-100, (Open access)

Bern, C.R., Yesavage, T. 2018. Dual-phase mass balance modeling of small mineral particle losses from sedimentary rock-derived soils. Chemical Geology. 

Bern, C.R., Thompson, A., Chadwick, O.A. 2015. Quantification of colloidal and aqueous element transfer in soils: The dual-phase mass balance model. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

Bern, C.R., Clark, M.L., Schmidt, T.S., Holloway, J.M., McDougal, R.R., 2015. Soil disturbance as a driver of increased stream salinity in a semiarid watershed undergoing energy development.Journal of Hydrology, 524: 123-136,

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