Carol Cheyne

MASc graduate
University of Toronto

My MASc research was on the utility of lead (Pb) isotopes as contaminant source tracers and chronostratigraphic markers in lake sediments in the Great Lakes region. Lead isotopes do not significantly fractionate between source and sink, so Pb isotope signatures measured in the environment match their geogenic source. Where source Pb isotope signatures are unique, they can provide more information on historical and modern pollution sources than contaminant concentrations alone. Through my research, we expanded the geographic range of a known 19th century Pb isotope marker due to Upper Mississippi Valley ore smelting. We discovered its presence throughout southern and central Ontario lake sediments and reached its possible northwestern extent in the Thunder Bay region. We also identified coal combustion as a significant source to southern Ontario lake sediments using both Pb isotopes and trace metal fluxes.

The MAGNET program contributed significantly to my graduate studies. I attended two conferences at the University of British Columbia organized by MAGNET, where I enhanced my research and teaching skills. Weekly seminars by academic and industry professionals led by MAGNET introduced me to a wide range of geochemical research. The MAGNET-run volcanology field trip throughout California was an incredible adventure that introduced me to incredible people and exciting field sites. Last, the travel stipend provided by MAGNET allowed me to participate in multiple conferences, a field school, and a summer course abroad, which I would not have been able to do through typical funding. Now that I am finished my degree, I plan to pursue a career in environmental consulting, focused on remediation of contaminated groundwater and soil. I was introduced to this field of work through a MAGNET industry internship with Golder Associates, Ltd. I am grateful to the MAGNET program for providing me with this and other exciting opportunities.