Lab Research Areas
Geochemistry is a powerful independent tool to learn about processes on Earth in the present and past. Changes in the composition of sediments on land and the ocean reveal important environmental changes that occur throughout the Earth’s history. For this purpose, it is also crucial to learn how elements transfer between water and sediments and what dictates the chemistry of the ocean.
The lab focuses on discovering past environmental changes and the interaction between land and ocean by analyzing the chemical composition (major and trace elements and radiogenic isotopes such as U, Th, Sr, Nd and Pb) of sediments and water.
Yael Kiro’s PhD in Geology is from the Institute of Earth Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She did postdoctoral research at the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
In the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Weizmann Institute, Dr. Kiro directs both an ultraclean laboratory and an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectroscopy laboratory. Samples (water, rocks and sediments) are prepared in the clean lab, and then measured in the ICP lab. Lab research centers on two themes:
1) Given the risk of seawater intrusion due to sea level rise and excess pumping, as well as expected shortages in water resources due to population growth and climate change, it is important to understand flow mechanisms in coastal aquifers. Current measuring methods cannot distinguish between short‐term processes of seawater circulation in aquifers driven by tides and waves, and long‐term processes driven by density gradient between fresh and saline water. Dr. Kiro aims to estimate the roles of these two processes, by identifying the fluxes of each one and how they affect a particular element. Her lab will sample several coastal aquifers around the world, measuring major and trace elements, rare earth elements and radiogenic isotopes.
2) Droughts are a major concern, affecting agriculture, industry and everyday life. Dr. Kiro’s lab studies past interglacial climates by examining terrestrial and marine records to establish what occurred during warm intervals over long periods in order to determine the future availability of water resources.