Date of Award

Spring 6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Anthony Carpi

Second Reader

Marcel Roberts

Third Advisor

Erin Mann


The water-induced emission of mercury from soil has been studied, but a complete understanding of the mechanisms driving mercury reduction and emission in soil has not been reached. The current understanding is an immediate expulsion of soil gaseous mercury upon water treatment and an upward transport of dissolved soil ionic mercury as the water evaporates. We analyzed emissions from several types of samples using various methods to further our understanding on the mechanisms involved. Light-induced emissions from aqueous samples of humic acid (HA) spiked with mercury (II) chloride (HgCl2) showed that at higher concentrations of HA, less mercury was emitted. Mercury emissions from a soil leachate sample was calculated to be 418.00pg compared to 1,294.45pg emitted from the water treatment of a control soil sample. Lastly, emissions from a frequently watered treatment soil sample reached a consistent amount of mercury emissions that did not increase upon additional water treatments. We believe these findings cannot be explained by published hypotheses. From these data we suspect there are additional factors, like bacterial activity, which could help give a comprehensive explanation to how mercury is reduced and emitted from soil.



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