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Mark Conrad

geophysicist: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Media contact: Dan Krotz, 510-486-4019,


Recent research


As head of the Geochemistry department, Mark Conrad focuses his research on using stable isotope measurements of groundwater and soil gas to identify areas of microbial activity, especially pertaining to bioremediation.

Mark Conrad's research interests include the following areas:

  • Isotopic tracers of hydrologic processes - Specific research projects have focused on topics entailing determination groundwater source regions, estimation of fluid infiltration rates from the isotopic signatures of vadose zone pore water, and tracking fluid and contaminant migration through the unsaturated zone.
  • Isotope monitoring of subsurface biologic processes - This work has involved laboratory experiments to determine the magnitude of isotopic fractionation resulting from microbial metabolic processes.  There have also been a series of field studies of bioremediation of organic contaminants (including petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents) and methane cycling.
  • Climate Change - Projects include a study of the isotopic compositions of the different components of the water cycle and a series of investigations of isotopic shifts recorded in the geologic record caused by natural climatic variations.
  • Crustal fluid-rock interaction - Research in this area has included isotopic studies of the effects of fluids on deep metamorphic processes, hydrothermal systems, and sedimentary basins.  Currently, isotopic measurements of water and CO2 are being used to examine the effects of heating on the chemistry of rocks at Yucca Mountain.


Recent Publications

  • Liu, F., R.C. Bales, M.H. Conklin, and M.E. Conrad, 2008, Stream flow generation from snowmelt in semi-arid, seasonally snow-covered, forested catchments, Valles Caldera, New Mexico: Water Resources Res., doi:10.1029/2007WR006728.
  • Faybishenko, B., T.C. Hazen, P.E. Long, E.L. Brodie, M.E. Conrad, S.S. Hubbard, J.N. Christensen, D. Joyner, S.E. Borglin, R. Chakraborty, K.H. Williams, J.E. Petersen, J. Chen, S.T. Brown, T.K. Tokunaga, J. Wan, M. Firestone, D.R. Newcomer, C.T. Resch, K.J. Cantrell, A. Willett, and S. Koenigsberg, 2008, In Situ Long-Term Reductive Bioimmobilization of Cr(VI) in Groundwater Using Hydrogen Release Compound: Environ. Sci. Technol. 42, 8478-8485.
  • Druhan, J.L., M.E. Conrad, K.H. Williams, L. N’Guessan, P.E. Long, and S.S. Hubbard, 2008, Sulfur Isotopes as Indicators of Amended Bacterial Sulfate Reduction Processes Influencing Field Scale Uranium Bioremediation: Environ. Sci. Technol. 42, 7842-7849.
  • Hubbard, S.S., K. Williams, M.E. Conrad, B. Faybishenko, J. Peterson, J.S. Chen, P. Long, and T. Hazen, 2008, Field-scale geophysical monitoring of biogeochemical transformations associated with Cr(VI) bioremediation: Environ. Sci. Technol. 42, 3757-3765.

Awards and Memberships

  • American Chemical Society
  • Geological Society of America
  • Mineralogical Society of America
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Society of Economic Geologists
  • Clay Minerals Society
  • Member of California Environmental Protection Agency Ad-Hoc Workgroup for Criteria and Standards in the Verification of Bioremediation Processes
  • Editorial Board for Environmental Monitoring and Assessment


Ph.D., Geology, Harvard University

last updated: 2017-08-04 10:23:03