Alexander Lemieux

MSc student
University of Ottawa

I completed my B.Sc. with honors at the University of Ottawa in Environmental Sciences, with a specialization in Ecotoxicology and Geochemistry. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I was fascinated by the amplitude with which various natural geologic processes and anthropogenic activities affected the quality and quantity of groundwater aquifers. Through the co-operative education program at uOttawa, I obtained jobs working both in industry and as part of government-funded research projects. I consider myself lucky to have worked on the Ontario Geological Survey’s Ambient Groundwater Geochemistry Program during the summers of 2015 and 2016, which ultimately led me to pursue a master’s degree in the field of Environmental Geoscience at uOttawa.

Under the supervision of Drs. Ian Clark and Stewart Hamilton, my master’s thesis will investigate the provenance of, and possible relationship between, anomalously high proportions of dissolved methane and iodine in a bedrock contact aquifer in Eastern Ontario. Groundwater and gaseous samples will be analysed for 129I and 14C isotopes using the new Accelerated Mass Spectrometer in the A.E. Lalonde AMS labs at the University of Ottawa to compliment a robust hydrogeochemical dataset, presenting an opportunity to combine cutting-edge technology with classic geochemical characterization techniques. These radionuclides will be used to trace the sources of iodine and methane in groundwater, and the processes affecting their enrichment. This study area has a unique geological setting, where organic-rich glaciomarine sediments derived from a marine incursion following the most recent glacial retreat (ca. 10 ka BP) overlie a complex Paleozoic topography and geology of interbedded shale and limestone units. I am particularly interested in contaminant source tracing, stable and radioactive isotope geochemistry, hydrogeologic resource assessment, nuclear waste disposal and contaminated site remediation.

Participating in the Multidisciplinary Applied Geochemistry Network has allowed me to gain a broader perspective of the applications of geochemistry in industrial and academic contexts, in addition to providing invaluable opportunities to interact with colleagues at the forefront of their respective fields.