Trainees

Elliott Skierszkan

PhD student
University of British Columbia

My fascination with the complexity and beauty of Earth led me to study Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa. My Honour’s Thesis with Dr. Jules Blais quantified the extent of metal and PAH contamination resulting from in-situ oil sands mining in Alberta.

As part of MAGNET at UBC, I am pursuing my interest in the environmental geochemistry of contaminants with a focus on contaminated mine drainage. Water becomes enriched in metals as it percolates through mine waste rock and tailings dumps, creating a significant environmental obstacle to the metal extraction industry. One challenge for managing mine drainage is the difficulty in predicting which processes limit the mobility of metals through waste dumps. My research uses variations in metal stable isotope compositions to track the fate of metals in these geochemically complex environments. This relies heavily on the use of a special class of mass spectrometers, the multi-collector ICP-MS, which is capable of resolving parts-per-thousand variations in metal isotope ratios in environmental samples.

I am thrilled to study metal stable isotope geochemistry in an era of burgeoning growth in this field, and to provide new insights into the behavior of metals in the environment with my research. If you don’t find me in the lab or in my office, try and find me somewhere outdoors, exploring the natural wonders of this world!