Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

D. Kirk Nordstrom

Dr. Nordstrom is a hydrogeochemist (emeritus) with the US Geological Survey whose works covers acid mine drainage, geothermal water chemistry, radioactive waste research, groundwater geochemistry, analytical chemistry, redox species, geochemical modeling, thermodynamic data evaluation, and geomicrobiology.

Dr. Nordstrom has worked on field sites, on laboratory studies, and theoretical calculations having to do with water-rock interactions. Field work includes interpreting the origin, evolution, fate, and consequences of acid mine drainage from metal mining, interpreting groundwater chemistry in a variety of aquifer systems, and interpreting the origins and evolution of geothermal water chemistry. He has contributed to the interpretation of groundwater composition in deep aquifer systems considered for nuclear waste disposal; the development of preservation methods and new analytical techniques for aqueous species, especially redox species, in natural waters; and the application of geochemical modeling to the interpretation of water-rock interactions for both surface and groundwaters. He has contributed to the development of geochemical modeling codes and the evaluation of thermodynamic data used in the codes. He has studied the role of microbes in the rates and processes of oxidation and reduction of redox-sensitive elements. He has focused often on the hydrogeochemical behavior of arsenic and fluoride which are often found as geogenic contaminants in groundwaters. He has worked on four USEPA Superfund sites and close to 100 mine sites.

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, University of Virginia, 1976-80

  • Associate Editor for Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 1986-87

  • Managing Editor for Geochemistry for Earth-Science Reviews, 2006-09

  • Co-editor for “Sulfate Minerals – Crystallography, Geochemistry, and Environmental Significance,” with John Jambor and Charles Alpers, Mineralogical Society of America and Geochemical Society, 2000

  • Editor for “Groundwater Geochemistry: A practical guide to modeling of natural and contaminated systems” by B.J. Merkel and B. Planer-Friedrich, 2005, Springer, Berlin and second edition, 2008

  • Co-editor for “Arsenic: Environmental Geochemistry, Mineralogy, and Microbiology,” with Rob Bowell, Charles Alpers, and Heather Jamieson, Mineralogical Association of America and Geochemical Society, 2014

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D. (Geochemistry) Stanford University, 1977

  • M.S.  (Geology) University of Colorado, 1971

  • B.A.  (Chemistry) Southern Illinois University, 1969

Affiliations and Memberships

  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science

  • Member, Geochemical Society

  • Fellow, Geological Society of America, (Hydrogeology Division)

  • Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America

  • Fellow, International Association of Geochemistry

  • Member, International Mine Water Association

  • Member, Board of Radioactive Waste Management, National Academy of Sciences, 1990-96

  • Member, Science Advisory Board, Thermal Biology Institute, Montana State University, 2000-09

Honors and Awards

  • Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research, 1970

  • Grant from the Anaconda Company, 1970

  • National Science Foundation Fellowship, 1970 71

  • Stanford Scholarship, 1975-76 

  • American Men and Women of Science, 33rd edition

  • Who's Who in the West, 21st edition

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, 1991-2004

  • Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship Award, Geological Society of America, 1996

  • Phoebe Apperson Hearst Distinguished Lecturer (University of California Berkeley), 1998

  • Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America, 2000

  • Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2001

  • Meritorious Service Award, US Department of the Interior, 2002

  • Cooperative Conservation Award, US Department of the Interior, 2008

  • International Ingerson Lecture Award, International Association of Geochemistry, 2009

  • Friend of Water-Rock Interaction Award, International Association of Geochemistry, 2010

  • Adrian Smith Lecture Award, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 2011

  • USGS Water Research Lecture Award, 2012

  • Adjunct Professor Award, Department of Chemistry, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia 2014-17

  • Brian Hitchon Award, International Association of Geochemistry, 2016 (most cited paper of 2011)

  • Leader of Water-Rock Interaction Award, International Association of Geochemistry, 2016

  • Halbouty Visiting Chair Award, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, March, 2018

Abstracts and Presentations

  • US Geological Survey (1985-2000) Geochemistry of Ground Water Systems 2-week Training Course (w/ others)

  • CIEMAT/ENRESA, Madrid (1994) Short course on Aqueous Geochemistry & Geochemical Modeling

  • CIEMAT/ENRESA, Madrid (1996) Short course on Isotope Hydrogeochemistry (with Niel Plummer)

  • ATSDR, Atlanta, GA (1997) Short course on Geochemical Modeling (with Jim Ball)

  • Porto University, Portugal (2008) Short Course on Arsenic Geochemistry, April 28-May 3

  • State of California Water Board (2009) Short Course on Characterizing, Predicting, and Modeling Water Quality at Mine Sites, May 18-21

  • Wuhan University, Hubei, China (2009) Advances in Hydrogeochemistry, March 23-26

  • University of Concepcion, Chile (2010) Short Course on Mining and Sustainability, October 11-15

  • Society for Economic Geologists (2010) Environmental Geochemistry for Modern Mining, October 29-30, Denver, CO (Annual Meeting of Geological Society of America)

  • EPA Webinar Workshop (2013) Predicting and modeling water chemistry associated with hardrock mine sites, February 13

  • National University of Salta, Argentina, Short Course on the Geochemistry of Acid Mine Drainage

  • Murdoch University, Australia (2015) Master Class: Introduction to Geochemical Modeling, Feb. 24

  • China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China (2015) Half-day seminar on Introduction to PHREEQC

  • Luleå University of Technology (2017) Geochemical modeling for mine site characterization and Luleå, Sweden remediation with PHREEQC exercises, July 3 – 5

  • Texas A&M University (2018) Chemical Elements in Water, March 1 – 31

  • Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China (2018) Chemical Elements in Water, July 16-28

  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (2019) Overview of Groundwater Chemistry: Convergence of Chemistry, Geology and Hydrology

  • More than 250 abstracts presented at professional society meetings, more than 150 presentations within the USGS, other universities, and other national and international institutions (other than courses taught). Numerous briefings to state and federal agencies.

Science and Products