Robert Zielinski

Biography

Robert Zielinski is a research chemist (retired-emeritus) in the USGS Central Energy Resources Team in Denver, Colorado. He earned a B.A. in chemistry from Rutgers University in 1967 and a Ph.D. in geochemistry from M.I.T. in 1972. He was awarded a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship with the USGS from 1972-1973, and accepted a permanent research position in 1974. His research interests include the use of trace-element geochemistry and isotopic measurements to describe natural geologic processes and to evaluate the environmental impacts of energy resource development.

 

Robert Zielinski originally applied his expertise in trace-element geochemistry to better understand natural processes such as igneous rock petrogenesis, trace element mobility during alteration and weathering of volcanic rocks, uranium source rock evaluation, and uranium uptake in wetlands. More recently he has used trace elements and various stable and radiogenic isotopes to evaluate the environmental impacts of  excess nutrients in the Everglades, historic uranium mining in the western U.S., historic coal mining in Colorado, and oil and gas development at various sites throughout the U.S. including two USGS research sites in Osage County, Oklahoma. Sampled media have included drill cores, soil, lake sediments, surface water, ground water, peat, coal fly ash, mine waste rock, and living vegetation. He is a recognized expert on the geochemistry of uranium and its decay products and on the use of uranium and radium isotopes to identify environmental impacts from anthropogenic sources of pollution such as uranium mill tailings, abandoned uranium mines and mine waste, radium-rich oilfield scales, and U-bearing phosphate fertilizers.

 

Dr. Zielinski is first author of 65 scientific publications and has presented a similar number of talks at national and international scientific meetings.  He has served as a Project Chief, Section Leader, and coordinator of research.  He served for thirteen years as an Associate Editor for Applied Geochemistry. 

 

Currently he is an emeritus-volunteer with the uranium research group in Denver. He serves as an advisor/reviewer/mentor and provides support of field work, sample archiving, web page development, and the uranium research group library.  

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MOST RECENT PUBLICATIONS

 

 Zielinski, R.A., Al-Hwaiti, M.S., Budahn, J.R., and Ranville, J.F., 2011, Radionuclides, trace elements, and radium residence  in phosphogypsum of Jordan. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, v. 33, no. 2 ,  p. 149-165.

 

Otton, J.K., Zielinski, R.A., and Horton, R.J, 2010, Geology, geochemistry, and geophysics of the Fry Canyon Project Site, southeastern Utah: indications of contaminant migration. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010- 5075, 48 pp. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5075/

 

 Zielinski, R.A. and C.C. Skinner, (eds.), 2009, Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Project: Published Products, 2001-2007. Limited Edition CD-ROM, also viewable at

http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/health_environment/produced_waters/osage.html

 

Zielinski, R.A., Otton, J.K., Schumann, R.R., and Wirt, L., 2007, Uranium in surface waters and sediments affected by historical mining in the Denver West 1:100,000 quadrangle, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 07-5246, 54 p.  http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5246

 

Zielinski, R.A., and Budahn, J.R., 2007, Mode of occurrence and environmental mobility of oilfield NORM at U.S. Geological Survey research site B, Osage-Skiatook Project, northeastern Oklahoma. Applied Geochemistry, v.22, p. 2125-2137.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Foster, A.L., Meeker. G.P., and Brownfield, I.K., 2007, Mode of occurrence of arsenic in feed coal and its derivative fly ash, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama. Fuel, v. 86, p. 560-572.

 

Zielinski, R.A. Herkelrath, W.N,  and Otton, J.K., 2007, Composition of pore water in lake sediments, research site “B”, Osage County, Oklahoma: implications for lake water  quality and benthic organisms. Applied Geochemistry, v. 22, p. 2177-2192.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Orem, W.H., Simmons, K.P., and Bohlen, P.J., 2006, Fertilizer-derived uranium and sulfur in rangeland soil and runoff: a case study in Central Florida. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 176, p. 163-183.

 

Zielinski, R.A, Johnson, C.A., and Adams, J.L., 2005, Use of sulfur isotopes to monitor dissolved sulfate derived from a fly ash disposal site, north-central Colorado. Proceedings of the World of Coal Ash Conference, April 11-15, 2005, Lexington, Kentucky. 10 p. available as hard copy or on CD-ROM from the Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, viewable athttp://www.flyash.info

 

Otton, J.K., Zielinski, R.A., Smith, B.D., Abbott, M.M., and Keeland, B.D., 2005, Environmental impacts of oil production on soil, bedrock, and vegetation at the U.S. Geological Survey Osage-Skiatook petroleum environmental research site A, Osage County, Oklahoma. Environmental Geosciences, v. 12, no.2, p. 73-86.

 

Otton, J.K., Zielinski, R.A., and Johnson, C.A., 2005, Origin of saline soils in the Front Range area north of Denver, Colorado. In, N.S. Fishman, editor, Energy resource studies, northern Front Range, Colorado, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1698, Chapter D, p. 73-87.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Rice, C.A., and Otton, J.K, 2003, Use of soil leachates to define the extent of brine-impacted soils and bedrock at the Osage-Skiatook petroleum environmental research “B” site, northeastern Oklahoma. In, Kharaka, Y.K., and Otton, J.K.,editors, Environmental impacts of petroleum production: initial results from the Osage-Skiatook petroleum environmental research sites, Osage County, Oklahoma, U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 03-4260, p. 124-132. http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri034260/

 

Zielinski, R.A., Cathcart, J.D., Hannah, T.L, and Bullock, J.H. Jr. 2003, Determining the distribution of subsurface salt contamination using the composition of oak leaves: a case study at an oil production site, northeast Oklahoma. Proceedings Volume, 10th International Petroleum Environmental Conference, November 11-14, 2003, Houston, Texas, 12 p. available as CD-ROM from The University of Tulsa, Continuing Engineering and Science Education Dept.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Budahn, J.R., Grauch, R.I., Paces, J.B., and Simmons, K.R., 2002, Weathering of Meade Peak Phosphatic Shale member of the Phosphoria Formation:  Observations based on uranium and its decay products. In J.R. Hein ,editor, Life Cycle of the Phosphoria Formation From Deposition to the Post-mining Environment, Elsevier Publishing, Amsterdam,  Chapter 9, p. 227-250.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Rice, C.A., and Otton, J.K., 2002, Use of soil leachate data to define the extent of brine-impacted soils at production site “B”, Osage-Skiatook Project, northeastern Oklahoma. Proceedings Volume, 9th International Petroleum Environmental Conference, October 22-25, 2002, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10 p. available as CD-ROM from The University of Tulsa, Continuing Engineering and Science Education Dept.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Foster, A.L, Meeker, G.P, Koenig, A.E., and Brownfield, I.K., 2002, Mode of occurrence of arsenic in feed coal and fly ash, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama. Proceedings Volume of the 2001 International Ash Utilization Symposium, October 22-24, Lexington, Kentucky. www.flyash.org.

 

Fassett, J.E., Zielinski, R.A., and Budahn, J.R., 2002, Dinosaurs that did not die: evidence for Paleocene dinosaurs in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone, San Juan Basin, New Mexico In, Koeberl, C., and MacLeod, K.G. editors, Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond. Geological Society of America Special Paper 356, p. 307-336.

 

Otton, J.K. and Zielinski, R.A., 2001, Simple techniques for assessing impacts of oil and gas operations on public lands:  a field evaluation of a photoionization detector (PID) at a condensate release site, Padre Island National Seashore, Texas. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File report 01-0183,  27 p. 

 

Zielinski, R.A., Otton, J.K., and Budahn, J.R., 2001, Use of radium isotopes to determine the age and origin of radioactive barite at oil field production sites.  Environmental Pollution. v. 113, p. 299-309. 

 

Zielinski, R.A., Otton, J.K., and Johnson, C.A., 2001, Sources of salinity near a coal mine spoil pile, north central Colorado.  Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 30, p. 1237-1248.

 

Otton, J.K., and Zielinski, R.A., 2000, Simple techniques for assessing impacts of oil and gas operations on Federal lands—a field evaluation at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Scott County, Tennessee. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File report 00-499, 51 p. 

 

Jones, E.J., Landa, E.R., Kraemer, T.F., and Zielinski, R.A., 2001, Sulfate-reducing bacteria release barium and radium from naturally occurring radioactive material in oil field barite. Geomicrobiology Journal, v. 18, p. 167-182.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Otton, J.K., and Rice, C.A., 2001, Assessment of sources of soil salinity near an oil field production site using the chemistry of surface water and soil leachates.  Proceedings Volume, 7thInternational Petroleum Environmental Conference, November 7-10, 2000, Albuquerque, N.M., p. 1046-1059.

 

Zielinski, R.A., and Otton, J.K., 1999, Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at oil-field production sites--an issue for the energy industry. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-142-99, 4 p.http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0142-99/

 

Landa, E.R., Cravotta, C.A., Naftz, D.L., Verplanck, P.L., Nordstrom, D.K., and Zielinski, R.A., 2000, Geochemical investigations by the U.S. Geological Survey on uranium mining, milling, and environmental restoration. Technology, v. 7, p. 381-396

 

Zielinski, R.A. , Affolter, R.H., Budahn, J.R., O’Connor, J.T., and Rice, C.A., 1999, Uranium in coal and fly ash: abundance, forms, and environmental significance.  Proceedings Volume 24th International Conference on Coal Utilization and Fuel Systems, March 8-11, 1999, Clearwater, Florida, p. 913-924.

 

Zielinski, R.A., Simmons, K.R., and Orem, W.H., 2000, Use of 234U and 238U isotopes to identify fertilizer-derived uranium in the Florida Everglades: Applied Geochemistry, v. 15, no. 3, p. 369-384.

 

Zielinski, R.A., White, G.J., and Otton, J.K., 1999, Chemical and radiometric assessment of NORM in soils and sediments contacted by produced water, Teapot Dome, Wyoming: Proceedings Volume, 5th International Petroleum Environmental Conference, October 20-23, 1998 Albuquerque, New Mexico, p. 709-728.

 

Otton, J.K., and Zielinski, R.A. 1999, Chemical criteria for determining the origin and dispersion of highly soluble salts near an oilfield operation, Logan County, Colorado:  Proceedings Volume, 5th International Petroleum Environmental Conference, October 20-23, 1998 Albuquerque, New Mexico, p. 953-973

 

Otton, J.K. and Zielinski, R.A., 1998, Chemical criteria for determining the origin and dispersion of highly soluble salts near an oilfield operation, Logan County, Colorado:  U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 98-426, 21 p. 

 

Zielinski, R.A. and Finkelman, R.B. 1998, Radioactive elements in coal and fly ash:  abundance, forms and environmental significance:  U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-163-97, 4 p.http://greenwood.cr.usgs.gov/energy/factshts/163-97/FS-163-97.html