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Charles N Alpers

Since 1991, as a Research Chemist with USGS, Dr. Alpers has led numerous water-quality investigations involving the environmental effects of historical mining.

This work has included research on acid mine drainage at the Iron Mountain Superfund site, including documentation of negative-pH water and associated sulfate minerals. Since 1999, he has been lead scientist for several multi-disciplinary studies regarding mercury contamination, transport, and bioaccumulation associated with historical gold mining in the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges of California. He is also investigating arsenic bioavailability and bioaccessibility in gold-mine waste at the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, California as part of a multi-disciplinary team involving USGS and non-USGS scientists.

The overarching theme of Dr. Alpers' research is the environmental geochemistry of metal contamination from historical mining.  A secondary theme is the use of mineral deposits and areas contaminated by mining as laboratories for process-oriented research. His career has evolved from an emphasis on acid mine drainage (late 1980s to 2000) to an emphasis on mercury (since 2000) with growing interests in wetlands, arsenic, and lead.