LeeAnn Munk, Ph.D.

Dr. LeeAnn Munk
Department of Geological Sciences


  • Ph.D., Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2001
  • M.S., Geology, Michigan State University, 1998
  • B.S., Geology, St. Norbert College, 1995


Dr. Munk is currently a Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences where she conducts research on the hydrogeochemistry of nutrients and elements across a broad spectrum of hydrologic and climate regimes from the subarctic of Alaska to the Andean Plateau. She teaches courses in geochemistry, environmental geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, earth resources, and field-based courses. 

Teaching Responsibilities

  • GEOL A461/A661 Geochemistry
  • GEOL A361 Earth Resources and Society
  • GEOL A460/660 Environmental Geochemistry
  • GEL A465/665 Isotope Geochemistry
  • GEOL A480 Geologic Field Methods
  • GEOL A490/A690 Geology of Death Valley

Research Interests

Dr. Munk's research is focused on the hydrogeochemistry of natural waters, in particular water-rock interactions and how major and trace elements and isotopes can be used to understand geochemical weathering and elemental cycles. She is interested in solving environmental problems as well as developing novel geochemical exploration and solution tools. She has multiple funded projects that take her and her students to the field in Alaska (Northwest Arctic, Southcentral Alaska, and Gulf of Alaska), U.S. southwest (Nevada), the south (New Mexico and Texas), South America (Chile and Argentina), and the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago). Her work is focused on problems associated with environmental geochemistry of mineralized terrains, the origin, transport and fate of nutrients in aquatic systems influenced by permafrost and glaciers, nutrient fluxes to the Gulf of Alaska, drinking water sources and quality, and the origin of lithium deposits and their connection to paleoclimate (brines and clays).  Dr. Munk also utilizes advanced geochemical and isotopic analyses coupled with laboratory experiments and geochemical modeling to test hypotheses centered around the field-based research questions. Recently she has become involved in climate solutions research centered around lithium as a sustainable resource for future energy needs.

She serves as Co-PI on the 5-yr $20M NSF Alaska EPSCoR “Fire and Ice” project. This project is focused on the impact of climate change on glacial recession and downstream shifts in nutrient, sediment and solute loads that are exported from land to the coast of the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) and how this impacts stakeholders who rely on coastal marine resources.

A recent highlight of the research that Dr. Munk and her colleague from UMASS-Amherst is that they were selected to conduct a high impact investigation on the sustainability of water use around lithium production funded by BMW and BASF: BMW Group commissions study on sustainable lithium extraction

Dr. Munk is actively seeking both graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to work on funded projects related to her research. The Munk lab welcomes people who are interested in working in a diverse group and who bring their own diversity to the team. Follow Dr. Munk on twitter @LitioReina and LinkedIN to learn more. And please get in touch through her email listed above.


Russo, A., Boutt, D.F., Munk, L.A., Jenckes, J., in revision. Contribution of fresh coastal groundwater discharge to the Gulf of Alaska. Geophysical Research Letters.

Jenckes, J., Ibarra, D. E., Munk L.A., submitted. Concentration-discharge patterns across the Gulf of Alaska reveal geomorphological and glacierization controls on stream water solute generations and export. Geophysical Research Letters.

Coffey, D.C., Munk, L.A., Butler, K., Ibarra, D, Boutt, D.F., in revision. Lithium Storage and Release from Lacustrine Sediments: Implications for Lithium Enrichment and Sustainability in Continental Brines", Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geosystems.

Boutt, D.F., Corenthal, L., Moran, B., Munk, L.A., Hynek, S., 2021. Imbalance in the modern hydrologic budget of topographic catchments along the western slope of the Andes (21-25oS). Hydrogeology Journal.

Munk, L.A., Boutt, D.F., Moran, B.J., McKnight, S.V, and Jenckes, J., 2021. Hydrogeologic and Geochemical Distinctions Freshwater-Brine Systems of an Andean Salar. Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geosystems. 

McKnight, S.V., Boutt, D.F., Munk, L.A., 2021. Impact of hydrostratigraphic continuity in heterogeneity on brine-to-freshwater interface dynamic; Implication from a 2-D parametric study in an arid and endorheic basin. Water Resources Research.

Boutt, D.F., Allen, M., Settembrino, M., Ingari, J., Demars, R., Allen, M., Munk, L.A., 2021.  Groundwater recharge to a structurally complex island aquifer system on the island of Tobago (Republic Trinidad and Tobago).  Hydrogeology Journal, 29:799-818.

Moran, M.J., Boutt, D.F., Munk, L.A., 2019. Stable and Radioisotope Systematics Reveal Fossil Water as Fundamental Characteristic of Arid Orogenic-Scale Groundwater Systems. Water Resources Research.

Munk, L.A., Boutt, D., Hynek, S.A., Moran, B., 2018. Hydrogeochemical Fluxes and Processes Contributing to the Formation of Lithium-Enriched Brines in a Hyper-Arid Continental Basin, Chemical Geology.

Reeves, M.K., Perdue, M., Munk, L.A., Hagedorn, B., 2018. Predicting risk of trace element pollution from municipal roads using site-specific soil samples and remotely sensed data, Science of the Total Environment, 630, 758-586.

Boutt, D., Hynek, S.A., Munk, L.A., Corenthal, L.G., 2016. Rapid recharge of fresh water to the halite-hosted brine aquifer of Salar de Atacama, Chile, Hydrologic Processes, 22p.

Corenthal, L.G., Boutt, D.F., Hynek, S.A., Munk, L.A., 2016. Regional groundwater flow and accumulation of a massive evaporate deposit at the margin of the Chilean Altiplano, Geophysical Research Letters, 43.

Munk, L.A. and Hynek, S.A., Bradley, D., Boutt, D., Labay, K., and Jochens, H., 2016.  Lithium brines: A Global Perspective, Reviews in Economic Geology, v. 18, p. 339-365.

R. Mathur, L.A. Munk, S. Shiming, N. Gómez Miguélez, S. Titley, G. Kunyi, F. Tornos, J. Ruiz, S. Brantley, 2014. Tracing low-temperature aqueous metal migration in mineralized watersheds with Cu isotope fractionation, Journal of Applied Geochemistry, v. 51, p.109-115.

Bradley, D., Munk, L.A., Jochens, H., Hynek, S., and Labay, K., 2013. A preliminary deposit model for lithium brines: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1006, 6 p.

Bradley, D., Stillings, L., Jaskula, B., Munk, L.A., and McCauley, A., 2013. Lithium in Schulz, K., Bradley, D., De Young, J., and Seal, R., editors, Critical Mineral Resources of the United States—Economic and Environmental Geology and Prospects for Future Supply, USGS Professional Paper, Chapter K.  

Mathur, R., Munk, L.A., Nguyen, M, Gregory, M., Annel, H., and Lang, J. 2013. Modern and paleo-fluid pathways revealed by Cu isotope fractionation in surface waters and ores of the Pebble porphyry Cu-Au-Mo deposit, Alaska.  Journal of Economic Geology, v. 108, no. 3, p. 529-541.

Eppinger, R., G., Fey, D.L., Giles, S.A., Grunsky, E.C., Kelley, K.D., Minsley, B.J., Munk, L.A., and Smith, S.M., 2013.  Summary of Exploration Geochemical and Mineralogical Studies at the Supergiant Pebble Porphyry Cu-Au-Mo Deposit, Alaska, USA, Journal of Economic Geology, v. 108, no.3, p.495-527

Torrance, K., Keenan, H., Munk, L.A., and Hagedorn, B., 2012. Arsenic speciation and mobility in surface water at Lucky Shot Gold Mine, Alaska. Environmental Geochemistry & Health, vol. 34, p.711-723.

Fortner, S.A., Lyons, W.B., Munk, L.A., 2012. Diel stream geochemistry, Taylor Valley, Antarctica, Hydrological Processes, 19 MAR 2012, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9255.

Fortner, S.A., Munk, L.A., 2011. Sources, Transport and Fate of Trace and Toxic Elements in the Environment – IAGS 2009, Journal of Applied Geochemistry, vol. 26, (11), p. 1775-1776.

Fortner, S.A., Mark, B.G., McKenzie, J.M., Bury, J., Trierweiler, A., Baraer, M., Burns, P.J., Munk, L.A., 2011.  Elevated stream trace and minor element concentrations in the foreland of a tropical glacier.  Journal of Applied Geochemistry, vol. 26 (11), p. 1792-1801.

Munk, L.A., Hagedorn, B. and Sjostrom, D., 2011.  Seasonal fluctuations and mobility of arsenic in groundwater resources, Anchorage, Alaska.  Journal of Applied Geochemistry, vol. 26(11), p.1811-1817

Stillings, L.L., Foster, A., Koski, R.A., Munk, L.A., Shanks, III, W.C., 2008.  Temporal Variation and Metals Flux from the Historic Beatson Mine, Prince William Sound, AK, Applied Geochemistry, v.23, p. 255-278.

Foster, A.L., Munk, L.A., Koski, R.A., Shanks, III, W.C., Stillings, L.L., 2008. Relationships between microbial communities, environmental parameters, and heavy metal toxicity at sites impacted by mining of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits, Prince William Sound, Alaska, Applied Geochemistry, v. 23, p.279-307.

Koski, R.A., Munk, L.A., Foster A. L., Shanks, W.C., and, Stillings, L.L., 2008. Sulfide Oxidation and Redistribution of Metals near Abandoned Copper Mines in Coastal Environments, Prince William Sound, Alaska, Applied Geochemistry, Applied Geochemistry, v. 23, p227-254. 

Koski, R.A., and Munk, L.A., editors, 2007.  Chemical Data for Rock, Sediment, Biological, Precipitate, and Water Samples from Abandoned Copper Mines in Prince William Sound, Alaska, USGS Open File Report 2007-1359, 20p.

Munk, L.A., Faure, G., and Koski, R.A., 2006.  Geochemical Evolution of Solutions Derived from Experimental Weathering of Sulfide-Bearing Rocks, Applied Geochemistry, v.21, p. 1123-1134.

Anderson, S.W., Flood, T.P., and Munk, L.A., 2006. Bucking the Trend: Three New Geoscience Programs, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 54, no. 1, p. 41-49. 

Mueller, S.H., Hart, C.J.R., Goldfarb, R.J., Munk, L.A. and Diment, R. 2004. Post-mining hydrogeochemical conditions, Brewery Creek Gold deposit, central Yukon. In: Yukon exploration and Geology, 2003, D.S. Emond and L.L. Lewis (eds.) Yukon Geological Survey, p.271-280. 

Munk, L.A., and Faure G., 2004.  Effects of pH Fluctuations on Potentially Toxic Metals in the Water and Sediment of the Dillon Reservoir, Summit County, Colorado.  Applied Geochemistry, Vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 1065-1074.

Mueller, S.H., Goldfarb, R.J., Miller, M.L., Munk, L.A., Sanzolone R., Lamothe P.J., Adams M., Briggs P.H., McClesky R.B., and Theodorakos P.M. 2003. Surface and Ground Water Geochemistry Near the Donlin Creek Gold Deposit, Southwestern Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-492, 31 p. 

Munk, L.A., Faure, G., Pride, D.E., and Bigham, J.M., 2002.  Sorption of trace metals to an aluminum precipitate in a stream receiving acid rock-drainage; Snake River, Summit County, Colorado.  Applied Geochemistry, v 17, no. 4, pp. 421-430.

Vogel, T.A., Cambray, F.W., Feher, L.A., Constenius, K.N., 1997.  Petrochemistry and emplacement history of the Wasatch Igneous Belt, Utah.  Geology and ore deposits of the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountains, Utah, Society of Economic Geologists, Guidebook Series, v. 29, pp. 47-63.