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Prof. Donald Sparks: “Frontiers and Advances in Environmental Soil Chemistry”

In 2015, Dr. Donald L. Sparks, Professor of Plant and Soil Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Delaware, received the American Chemical Society’s Geochemistry Division Medal for his highly influential and transformative work in geochemistry, environmental chemistry, and soil chemistry; his outstanding record as an educator and mentor; and his service to the geochemical community. To celebrate and honor Prof. Sparks’ life-long research interests and achievements, researchers who share this scientific sphere with Prof. Sparks were invited to submit papers for an article collection in Geochemical Transactions. This collection highlights important challenges in environmental geochemistry and soil chemistry and will introduce current advances in these areas.

The Guest Editors’ aim was to bring together a series of research articles exemplifying recent developments in state-of-the-art experimental and numerical approaches toward understanding mineral-water interfaces. We see this is an excellent opportunity, both to honor Prof. Sparks’ enduring accomplishments in Environmental Geochemistry and Soil Chemistry and to share new developments in the field.


Guest Editors: Young-Shin Jun (Washington University in St. Louis,, Mengqiang Zhu (University of Wyoming,, and Derek Peak (University of Saskatchewan,

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This is an exciting time to be a researcher in the area of soil and environmental geochemistry. The major issues that we face globally, such as climate change, soil and water contamination, energy conservation, land degradation, air quality, and environmental sustainability all provide rich opportunities for advancing scientific frontiers. The advances in analytical techniques that enable one to explore reactivity and processes on natural materials over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, as well as powerful modeling and data analytics tools, provide unique opportunities to address and provide solutions to the environmental challenges we face.  I would be deeply honored and grateful to have you contribute to this special issue."

Prof. Donald Sparks

  1. Research Article

    Wien effect of Cd/Zn on soil clay fraction and their interaction

    The coexistence of Cd2+ and Zn2+ ions in nature has a significant influence on their environmental behaviors in soils and bioavailability for plants. While many studies have been done on the mutual toxicity of Cd

    Tingting Fan, Chengbao Li, Juan Gao, Dongmei Zhou, Marcelo Eduardo Alves and Yujun Wang

    Geochemical Transactions 2018 19:5

    Published on: 13 February 2018

  2. Research Article

    Impacts of hydrous manganese oxide on the retention and lability of dissolved organic matter

    Minerals constitute a primary ecosystem control on organic C decomposition in soils, and therefore on greenhouse gas fluxes to the atmosphere. Secondary minerals, in particular, Fe and Al (oxyhydr)oxides—colle...

    Jason W. Stuckey, Christopher Goodwin, Jian Wang, Louis A. Kaplan, Prian Vidal-Esquivel, Thomas P. Beebe Jr. and Donald L. Sparks

    Geochemical Transactions 2018 19:6

    Published on: 13 February 2018

  3. Research Article

    Effects of humic substances on Fe(II) sorption onto aluminum oxide and clay

    We studied the effects of humic substances (HS) on the sorption of Fe(II) onto Al-oxide and clay sorbents at pH 7.5 with a combination of batch kinetic experiments and synchrotron Fe K-edge EXAFS analyses. Fe(II)...

    Ying Zhu, Jingjing Liu, Omanjana Goswami, Ashaki A. Rouff and Evert J. Elzinga

    Geochemical Transactions 2018 19:3

    Published on: 25 January 2018

  4. Research Article

    Chemical speciation and fate of tripolyphosphate after application to a calcareous soil

    Adsorption and precipitation reactions often dictate the availability of phosphorus in soil environments. Tripolyphosphate (TPP) is considered a form of slow release P fertilizer in P limited soils, however, i...

    Jordan G. Hamilton, Jay Grosskleg, David Hilger, Kris Bradshaw, Trevor Carlson, Steven D. Siciliano and Derek Peak

    Geochemical Transactions 2018 19:1

    Published on: 8 January 2018

  5. Research article

    Fe(II) reduction of pyrolusite (β-MnO2) and secondary mineral evolution

    Iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) are the two most common redox-active elements in the Earth’s crust and are well known to influence mineral formation and dissolution, trace metal sequestration, and contaminant tra...

    Michael V. Schaefer, Robert M. Handler and Michelle M. Scherer

    Geochemical Transactions 2017 18:7

    Published on: 5 December 2017