The picture is from a mud pool in the Sollipulli volcano (Alpehue geyser field) in southern Chile.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 1:00-2:00pm (Pacific Time)

TITLE: A geochemical perspective on the groundwater cycling stories of iodine and lithium in the Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert hosts one of the widest varieties of saline deposits on the Earth’s crust: from the nitrate and iodine ore fields in its hyperarid core to the Li-rich saltpans in the Altiplano. The continental cycling of iodine and lithium in the Atacama emerges from a convergence of geological processes. These salts accumulate as a result of long-lived arid conditions, volcanic and tectonic activity, weathering, and groundwater transport. This talk will discuss our experience using a combination of different—and sometimes unexpected—geochemical tracers towards unraveling the sources and sinks of iodine and lithium in the driest desert on Earth. 


Alida Perez-Fodich is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geology at the University of Chile in Santiago since 2020. Her research focuses on weathering reactions, precipitation of clays, and secondary minerals in soils and hydrothermal systems. Her research combines geochemical tracers with reactive transport models to understand the mechanisms of isotope fractionation and trace element partitioning during the precipitation of secondary minerals on the Earth’s surface. Alida received BSc and MSc degrees in Geology from the University of Chile and worked as a junior geologist in copper mining. She obtained her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Cornell University in 2019 and she was a visiting scholar at the Institut du Globe de Paris through the Make Our Planet Great Again (MOPGA) program before returning to Chile.