Dr. LeeAnn Munk
Dr. LeeAnn Munk and her colleagues form UMASS-Amherst and Pennsylvania State University are developing a global model for Lithium-enriched brines. Why lithium? Lithium is a critical and strategic element that is required for lithium-ion batteries for which the utilities are far reaching from small electronic devices to hybrid and electric cars. The global supply of lithium from brines is not well documented because it is an unconventional type of mineral deposit. Dr. Munk and her team are focused on the origin of these special lithium deposits and they currently study two of them, one in Nevada and one in Atacama Desert, Chile. The focus of the work is to document the hydrogeochemical processes responsible for the source, transport and accumulation of lithium in these closed-basin settings (Munk et al., 2014). With research support from industry Munk and her team are becoming the leading experts in understanding where, when, why, and how these deposits form on a global scale.