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  • Dr. LeeAnn Munk and Colleagues Sampling Lithium Brines in Clayton Valley, NV
  • Dr. LeeAnn Munk and Colleague Sampling Groundwater Brine in the Salar de Atacama, Chile
  • Dr. LeeAnn Munk Collecting Snow on the Summit of Augustine Volcano, AK

LeeAnn Munk, Ph.D.

Professor of Geological Sciences
Office: CPISB 301H
Phone: (907) 786-6895
Email: lamunk@uaa.alaska.edu


Dr. Munk received her B.S. in Geology from St. Norbert College in 1995. In 1998 she completed a M.S. degree in Geology at Michigan State University and received her PhD in Geological Sciences from The Ohio State University in 2001. Dr. Munk is currently a Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences where she teaches courses in geochemistry, earth resources, and field methods. Her current research is focused on determining the hydrogeochemistry and origin of lithium brines and the role of high-latitude volcano weathering in the global carbon cycle.

Curriculum Vitae

Teaching Responsibilities

 Undergraduate Classes Taught at UAA

Research Interests

Dr. Munk's research is focused on the geochemistry of natural waters, in particular water-rock interactions and how major and trace elements and isotopes can be applied to understand geochemical weathering. She is interested in solving environmental problems as well as developing novel geochemical exploration tools. She has applied the principles of geochemistry to diverse problems associated with mined and un-mined mineralized terrains and have investigated trace element geochemistry across a spectrum of environments from polar and high altitude deserts to temperate climates. Some of her recent projects are focused on groundwater resources in Alaska, geochemical weathering of high latitude island arcs, and the origin of lithium brines in South America and Nevada. Dr. Munk is actively seeking both graduate and undergraduate students to complete theses related to her research.

Funded Research

1. PI- A Plio-Pleistocene record of environment and climate from the Salar de Atacama basin based on recently recovered sediment cores, NSF RAPID Award #1443226, $75,000, 2014-2015. Co-PI S. Hynek, PSU. 

2. PI-A Database for the Distribution of Potentially Toxic Elements in the Aleutian Volcanic Arc Terrestrial Ecosystem, USF&W, ABSILCC, $106,338, 2014-2016. Co-PI K. Mock, UAA. 

3. PI-Sources of Calcium and Lithium to Salar de Atacama, Chile, Rockwood Lithium, $600,000, Rockwood Lithium, in collaboration with D. Boutt, University of Massachusettes Amherst, and S. Hynek, The Pennsylvania State University, 2012-2016. 

4. PI- Hydrogeology and Geochemistry of Groundwater in the Sand Lake Area, Anchorage, Alaska, State of Alaska, in collaboration with JA Munter Consulting, $207,130, 2013-2016. 

5. PI- Assessing the Effects of Silicate Weathering on Atmospheric CO2 in the Aleutian Volcanic Arc, UAA INNOVATE, $10,000, 2014-2015. 

6. PI-Copper Isotopes in Water and Glacial Till as Exploration Tools at Pebble, PLP, $25,000, 2013-2014. 

7. PI- Sources of Li and Age of Brines at Clayton Valley, Nevada, Rockwood Lithium, $185,567, 2012-2014. 

8. Co-PI-Source Identification and Complexation of Copper in an Urban Environment, with Aaron Dotson, UAA SOE, UAA INNOVATE award, $25,000, 2012-2013. 

9. PI-Regional Assessment of Ages and Geochemistry of Rocks from the USGS Alaska Database, $10,000, Rio Tinto, 2012-2013. 

10. PI-Copper isotopes in groundwater from Cu porphyry exploration sites in Arizona, $25,000, Millrock Resources, 2012. 

11. PI-Environmental and exploration geochemistry at the Pebble Copper Deposit, Alaska, $100,000, 2009-2013. 

12. Co-I: AK –Road effects on water quality and temperature in lentic wetlands (Kenai Penninsula): Do roads facilitate amphibian malformations through poor water quality and thermal disturbances? US Fish and Wildlife Service, $200,000, 2010-2013.
13. PI-Lithium Brine Resources: A Predictive Exploration Model. USGS MRERP, $70,000, 2010-2011. 

14. PI: Hydrogeology and Geochemistry of the Anchorage Aquifer System: Research and Teaching Applications, USGS-NIWR, $45,000, 2010-2011. 

Graduate Student Theses

Kolberg, M., in progress. Defining the low temperature weathering end-member in the Aleutian Volcanic Arc. MS Interdisciplinary, Advisor. 

Huff, H., in progress. Trace element and nutrient fluxes from high-latitude island arc watersheds. MS Interdisciplinary, Advisor. 

Perry, L., in progress. Using Copper Isotopes to Source Track Copper in the Engineered Environment, MS AEST, committee member. 

Diaz Alvarez, E., in progress. Hydrogeochemical characterization of groundwater flow feeding the southeast hyrologic system of the Salar de Atacama, Antofagasta, Chile. National University of La Pampa, Argentina. External, MS thesis advisor. 

Coquette, K., 2014. Geochemistry of glacial meltwater, Greenland Ice Sheet. Advisor with B. Hagedorn. 

Burich, B.E., 2008. Potentially Toxic Metal Sources and Distribution in Water, Streambed Sediments, Benthic Macroinvertebrates, and Fish in the Anchorage Watershed. Interdisciplinary MS thesis submitted to the University of Alaska Anchorage. 

Undergraduate Student Theses

Warta, S., 2015. Geochemical exploration for concealed copper deposits, Pebble, Alaska (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $2000). 

Bender, A., 2013. Utilizing stable isotopes in sediment cores to help decipher tectonic activity along the Alaskan Megathrust (Fran Ulmer Transformative Research Award, $5,000 and Alaska Global Change Grant, $10,000). 

Jochens, H., 2012. Experimental Weathering and Evaporation Studies to Understand the Geochemical Cycle of Lithium (Fran Ulmer Transformative Research Award, $5,000). 

Cardenas, M.E., 2011. Surface-Groundwater Interactions in the Anchorage Aquifer as Controlled by Climate. B.S. Thesis, University of Alaska Anchorage. (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $2000) 

Panthi, S., Ketner, D., and Bagoyos, R., 2010. A New Method for Analyzing Seismic Data from Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $1000) 

Chriest, A.L., 2009. Environmental Geochemistry Associated with Abandoned Gold Mines, Unga Island, Alaska. B.S. Thesis, University of Alaska Anchorage. (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $2000) 

Percak-Dennett, L., 2008. Correlation and Enumeration of Water and Sediment Fecal Coliform Levels from Selected Sites within the Little Campbell Creek Watershed, Anchorage Alaska, B.S. Thesis, University of Alaska Anchorage. (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $2000) 

Addison, E., 2008. Combining Geophysics and Geochemistry to Understand the Anomalous Occurrence of Permafrost in Anchorage, Alaska, Senior Project submitted to the School of Engineering. (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $1000) 

Cohen, J.C., 2006. Contributions of Chemical Weathering to Stream Water Composition and Sources of Water in the Anchorage Watershed, Alaska. B.S. Thesis, University of Alaska Anchorage. (UAA Undergraduate Research Grant, $2000 and EPSCOR Undergraduate Research Grant, $5000) 

Burich, B.E., 2004. Environmental Geochemistry of Potentially Toxic Metals in Ship Creek, Anchorage, Alaska, B.S. Thesis, University of Alaska Anchorage. (EPSCOR Undergraduate Research Grant, $5000) 

Aston, M.C., 2003. Geochemical Evolution of Acid Rock Drainage and Acid Mine Drainage Derived from Massive Sulfide Ore Deposits in Prince William Sound, Alaska;Utilizing Weathering Experimentation, B.S. Thesis, University of Alaska Anchorage. 


Corenthal, L.G., Boutt, D.F., Hynek, S.A., Munk, L.A., (in prep). Orogenic groundwater flow and accumulation of a massive evaporite deposit at the margin of the Chilean Altiplano. 

Munk, L.A. and Hynek, S.A., Bradley, D., Boutt, D., Labay, K., and Jochens, H. (in press). Lithium brines: A Global Perspective. Invited review paper to the special volume on Rare and Critical Elements in the Journal of Economic Geology. 

Munk, L.A., Hynek, S.A., Boutt, D.F., and Bradley, D., 2015. Geology, geochemistry, and hydrogeology of lithium brines. Geological Society of Nevada 2015 Symposium, Reno, Nevada. 

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. Munk, L.A., Bradley, D.C., Hynek, S., Godfrey, L., and Jochens, H., 2011. Geochemistry of Lithium-rich Brines in Clayton Valley, Nevada, USA. Society of Geology Applied to Ore Deposits, 2011 meeting, Antofagasta, Chile. 

Jochens, H., and Munk, L.A., 2011. Experimental Weathering of Lithium-Bearing Source Rocks Clayton Valley, Nevada, USA. Society of Geology Applied to Ore Deposits, 2011 meeting, Antofagasta, Chile. 

Mathur, R., Munk, L.A., Lang, J., Nguyen, M., 2011. Geologic Exploration application of Cu isotope signatures of ores and surface waters at the Pebble Au-Cu-Mo porphyry deposit, Alaska. Society of Geology Applied to Ore Deposits, 2011 meeting, Antofagasta, Chile. 

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.