Boreal sulfidic landscape

Project: Mobilization and redox-cycling of uranium in two boreal sulfidic landscapes

The overall aim of this project is to explore and investigate the biogeochemical processes that control the release, transport, and environmental fate of uranium (a highly carcinogenic and toxic radionuclide) in two sulfidic landscapes (acid sulfate soil and black shale) in northern Europe. Both lab-based experiments and field studies will be carried out.

Facts about the project

Full project name
Mobilization and redox-cycling of uranium in two boreal sulfidic landscapes: the impacts of Fe-S mineralization pathways and wet-dry cycles
Project manager
Changxun Yu
Other project members
Mark Dopson, Anders Johnson och Mats Åström, Linnaeus University; Jean-François Boily, Umeå University; Viktor Sjöberg, Kristina Åhlgren och Bert Allard, Örebro University; Edward Burton, Southern Cross University; Carl-Magnus Morth, Stockholm University
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, Örebro University, Southern Cross University, Stockholm University
The Swedish Research Council Formas
1 jan 2021–31 dec 2024
Environmental science (Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)
Research group
Environmental Geochemistry

More about the project

Oxidative weathering of acid sulfate soil and black shale occurs in many places worldwide and releases large quantities of acidity and highly toxic uranium into surrounding environments. Nowadays, many acid sulfate soils have been drained to increase agricultural production, while groundwater in black shale aquifers has been extracted for irrigation/drinking purposes. Intensified weather extremes caused by climatic change will further enhance the geographical area, depth penetration, and chemical leaching of these problematic materials. In turn, this will threaten the drinking water supplies, in particular in densely populated coastal areas where clean water is in high demand.

The proposed project seeks to gain a molecular understanding of biogeochemical cycling of uranium along with the biological critical elements (sulfur and iron) in boreal acid sulfate soil and black shale landscapes. The integration of experimental and field-based studies using a wide range of biogeochemical and spectroscopic-microscopic tools will yield a wealth of information on the intimate interactions between microorganisms and water/minerals that dictate mobility and redox-cycling of uranium in these two landscapes. The obtained information can be used to minimize the dispersion of uranium in these two landscapes, by enhancing (i) uranium retention processes within black shale and acid sulfate soils; and (ii) uranium attenuation processes in associated sedimentary environments.

The project is part of the research in the research group Environmental Geochemistry and in Linnaeus Knowledge Environment: Water