Karen H Johannesson Karen H. Johannesson

Phone: 504-862-3193
Fax: 504-865-5199

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Room 207 Blessey Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118


Ph.D., Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, 1993
M.S., Boston College, 1988
B.S., University of New Hampshire, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1985

Professional Service

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Chemical Geology, 2016 - present
Associate Editor, American Mineralogist, 2014 - present
Associate Editor, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2006 - present


Clair C. Patterson Medal of the Geochemical Society, 2015
Fellow, Geochemical Society, 2015
Fellow, European Association of Geochemistry, 2015
Fellow, International Association of GeoChemistry, 2014
Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2010

Research Interests

Low-temperature aqueous geochemistry and biogeochemistry, emphasizing trace element speciation, chemical hydrogeology, and biogeochemical cycling of trace elements (e.g., arsenic, selenium, and REEs) in the environment.

Current Funded Research

PRF #56237-ND2. Tungsten in Petroleum Systems: A Potential Paleo-Environment Indicator. Project Location: Tulane University Chemical Society, The Petroleum Research Fund.

EAR-1141692:  Collaborative Research:  Are buried paleochannels effective reactors for water and solute transport in the deltaic subterranean estuary?  Project location:  Tulane University.  National Science Foundation.

Select Publications

Johannesson, K. H., Palmore, C.D., Frackell, J., Prouty, N.G., Swarzenski, P.W., Chevis, D. A., Telfeyan, K., White, C. D., and Burdige, D.J., 2017. Rare earth element behavior during groundwater - seawater mixing along the Kona Coast of Hawaii. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 198, 229-258.

Blake, J. M., Peters, S.C., and Johannesson, K., 2017. Application of REE geochemical signatures for Mesozoic sediment provenance to the Gettysburg Basin, Pennsylvannia. Sedimentary Geology 349, 103-111.

Datta, S., Vero, S. E., Hettiarchchi, G. M., and Johannesson, K. H., 2017. Tungsten contamination of soils and sediments: Current state of science. Current Pollution Reports,

Kulkarni, H.V., Mladenov, N., Johannesson, K.H., and Datta, S., 2017. Contrasting dissolved organic matter quality in groundwater in Holocene and Pleistocene aquifers and implications for influencing arsenic mobility. Applied Geochemistry 77, 194-205

Mohajerin, T. J., Helz, G. R., and Johannesson, K. H., 2016. Tungsten - molybdenum fractionation in estuarine environments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 177, 105-119.

Prouty, N. G., Swarzenski, P.W., Frackell, J. K., Johannesson, K., and Palmore, D., 2016. Groundwater-derived  nutrient and trace element transport to a nearshore Kona coral ecosystem: Experimental mixing model results. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies,

Yang, N., Shen, Z., Datta, S., and Johannesson, K.H., 2016. High aresenic (As) concentrations in shallow groundwaters of southern Louisiana: Evidence of microbial controls on As mobilization from sediments. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 5, 100-113.

Telfeyan, K., Johannesson, K.H., Mohajerin, T.J., and Palmore, C.D., 2015. Vanadium geochemistry along groundwater flow paths in contrasting aquifers of the United States: Carrizo Sand (Texas) and Oasis Valley (Nevada) aquifers. Chemicals Geology 410, 63-78

Chevis, D.A., Johannesson, K.H., Burdige, D.J., Cable, J.E., Martin, J.B., and Roy, M., 2015. Rare earth element cycling in a sandy subterranean estuary in Florida, USA. Marine Chemistry, 176, 34-50

Yang, N., Welch, K. A., Mohajerin, T. J., Telfeyan, K., Chevis, D. A., Grimm, D. A., Lyons, W. B., White, C. D., and Johannesson, K. H., 2015. Comparison of arsenic and molybdenum geochemistry in meromictic lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Implications for oxyanion-forming trace element behavior in permanently stratified lakes. Chemical Geology, 404, 110-125.

Chevis, D. A., Johannesson, K. H., Burdige, D. J., Moran, S. B., and Kelly, R. P., 2015. Submarine groundwater fluxes of rare earth elements to a tidally-mixed estuary in southern Rhode Island. Chemical Geology, 397, 128-142.

Mohajerin T. J., Helz G. R., White C. D., and Johannesson K. H., 2014. Tungsten speciation in sulfidic waters: Determination of thiotungstate formation constants and modeling their distribution in natural waters. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 144, 157-172.

Yang, N., Winkel, L., and Johannesson, K. H., 2014. Predicting arsenic contamination in shallow groundwater of southern Louisiana, USA. Environmental Science and Technology, 48, 5660-5666.

Leybourne, M. I., Johannesson, K. H., and Asfaw, A., 2014. Chapter 5: Measuring arsenic speciation in environmental media: Sampling, preservation and analysis. In: R. J. Bowell, C. N. Alpers, H. E. Jamieson, D. K. Nordstrom, and J. Majzlan (eds.) Environmental Geochemistry, Mineralogy, and Microbiology of Arsenic. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, v. 79, pp. 371-390.

Sankar, M. S., Vega, M. A., Defoe, P. P., Kibria, M. G., Ford, S., Telfeyan, K., Neal, A., Mohajerin, T. J., Hettiarachchi, G. M., Barua, S., Hobson, C., Johannesson, K., and Datta, S., 2014. Elevated arsenic and manganese in groundwaters of Murshidabad, West Bengal, India. Science of the Total Environment, 488-489, 570-579.

Raychowdhury, N., Mukherjee, A., Bhattacharya, P., Johannesson, K., Bundschuh, J., Sifuentes, G. B., Nordberg, E., Martin, R. A., and del Rosario, A., 2014. Provenance and fate of arsenic and other solutes in the Chaco-Pampean plain of the Andean foreland, Argentina: From perspectives of hydrogeochemical modeling and regional tectonic setting. Journal of Hydrology, 518, 300-316.

Mohajerin, T. J., Neal, A. W., Telfeyan, K., Sasihharan, S. M., Ford, S., Yang, N., Chevis, D. A., Grimm, D. A., Datta, S., White, C. D., and Johannesson, K. H., 2014. Geochemistry of tungsten and arsenic in aquifer systems: A comparative study of groundwaters from West Bengal, India, and Nevada, USA. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 225, 1792, DOI: 0.1007/s11270-013-1792-x

Johannesson, K. H., Telfeyan, K., Chevis, D. A., Rosenheim, B. E., and Leybourne, M. I. (2014). Rare earth elements in stromatolites – 1. Evidence that modern terrestrial stromatolites fractionate rare earth elements during incorporation from ambient waters. In: Y. Dilek and H. Furnes (eds.) Archean Earth and Early Life. Springer (Dordrecht), pp. 385-411.

Kolker, A. S., Cable, J. E., Johannesson, K. H., Allison, M. A., and Inniss, L. V. (2013) Pathways and processes associated with the transport of groundwater in deltaic systems. Journal of Hydrology 498, 319-334

Johannesson, K. H., Dave, H. B., Mohajerin, T. J., and Datta, S. (2013) Controls on tungsten concentrations in groundwater flow systems:  The role of adsorption, aquifer sediment Fe(III) oxide/oxyhydroxide content, and thiotungstate formation. Chemical Geology (315). 76-94.  PDF Version

Rosenheim, B. E.
, K. M. Roe, B. J. Roberts, A. S. Kolker, M. A. Allison, and K. H. Johannesson (2013), River discharge influences on particulate organic carbon age structure in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River System, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 27, doi:10.1002/gbc.20018.

Leybourne M. I., Cameron E. M., Reich M., Palacios C., Faure K., and Johannesson K. H. (2013) Stable isotopic composition of soil calcite (O, C) and gypsum (S) overlying Cu deposits in the Atacama Desert, Chile: Implications for mineral exploration, salt sources, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Applied Geochemistry 29, 55-72.

Johannesson K. H. and Neumann K. (2013) Geochemical cycling of mercury in a deep, confined aquifer: Insights from biogeochemical reactive transport modeling. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 106, 25-43.

Johannesson K. H. (2012) "Rare earth element geochemistry of scleractinian coral skeleton during meteoric diagenesis: a sequence through neomorphism of aragonite to calcite: by Webb et al., Sedimentology, 56, 1433-1463: Discussion. Sedimentology 59, 729-732.

Datta S., Neal A. W., Mohajerin T. J., Ocheltree T., Rosenheim B. E., White C. D., and Johannesson K. H. (2011) Perennial ponds are not an important source of water or dissolved organic matter to groundwaters with high arsenic concentrations in West Bengal, India. Geophysical Research Letters 38, L20404, doi:10.1029/2011GL049301     (

 Willis S. S., Haque S. E., and Johannesson K. H. (2011) Arsenic and antimony in groundwater flow systems: A comparative study. Aquatic Geochemistry 17, 775-807.    (

 Willis, S. S. and Johannesson, K. H. (2011) Controls on the geochemistry of rare earth elements in sediments and groundwaters of the Aquia aquifer, Maryland USA. Chemical Geology 285, 32-49

  Pearcy, C. A., Chevis, D. A., Haug, T. J., Jeffries, H. A., Yang, N., Tang, J., Grimm, D. A., and Johannesson, K. H. (2011) Evidence of microbially mediated arsenic mobilization from sediments of the Aquia aquifer, Maryland, USA. Applied Geochemistry 26, 575-586.

  Johannesson, K. H., Chevis, D.A., Burdige, D.J., Cable, J.E., Martin, J.B., and Roy, M. (2011) Submarine groundwater discharge is an important net source of light and middle REEs to coastal waters of the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, USA, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, (2011) 825-843.

 Tang J. and Johannesson K. H. (2010) Rare earth elements adsorption onto Carrizo sand: Influence of strong solution complexation. Chemical Geology 279, 120-133.

 Tang, J. and Johannesson, K.H. (2010) Ligand extraction of rare earth elements from aquifer sediments: Implications for rare earth element complexation with organic matter in natural waters.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74.

 Johannesson, K.H. and Tang J. (2009) Conservative behavior of arsenic and other oxyanion-forming trace elements in an oxic groundwater flow system. Journal of Hydrology 378, 13-28.

 Leybourne M. I. and Johannesson K. H. (2008) Rare earth elements (REE) and yttrium in stream waters, stream sediments, and Fe–Mn oxyhydroxides: Fractionation, speciation, and controls over REE + Y patterns in the surface environment. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72, 5962-5983

 Haque S., Ji. J., and Johannesson K. H. (2008) Evaluating mobilization and transport of arsenic in sediments and groundwaters of Aquia aquifer, Maryland, USA. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 99, 68-84.

Leybourne M. I., Peter J. M., Johannesson K. H., and Boyle D. R. (2008) The Lake St. Martin bolide has big impact on groundwater fluoride concentrations. Geology 36, 115-118.

Haque S. E., Tang J., Bounds W. J., Burdige D. J., and Johannesson K. H. (2007) Arsenic geochemistry of the Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia, USA: Possible organic matter controls. Aquatic Geochemistry 13, 289-308.

Basu R., Haque S. E., Tang J., Ji J., and Johannesson K. H. (2007) Evolution of selenium concentrations and speciation in groundwater flow systems: Upper Floridan (Florida) and Carrizo Sand (Texas) aquifers. Chemical Geology 246, 147-169.

Bounds W. J. and Johannesson K. H. (2007) Arsenic addition to soils from airborne coal dust originating at a major coal shipping terminal. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 185, 195-207.

Cizdziel J. V., Guo C., Steinberg S. M., Yu Z., and Johannesson K. H. (2007) Chemical and colloidal analyses of natural seep water collected from the exploratory studies facility inside Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 30, 31-44.

Johannesson K. H.and Burdige D. J. (2007) Balancing the global oceanic neodymium budget: Evaluating the role of groundwater. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 253, 129-142.

Johannesson K. H., Hawkins D. L., Jr., and Cortés A. (2006) Do Archean chemical sediments record ancient seawater rare earth element patterns? Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 871-890.

Tang J. and Johannesson K. H. (2006) Controls on the geochemistry of rare earth elements along a groundwater flow path in the Carrizo Sand aquifer, Texas, USA. Chemical Geology 225, 156-171.

Haque S. E. and Johannesson K. H. (2006) Concentrations and speciation of arsenic along a groundwater flow-path in the Upper Floridan aquifer, Florida, USA. Environmental Geology 50, 219-228.

Haque S. E. and Johannesson K. H. (2006) Arsenic concentrations and speciation along a groundwater flow path: The Carrizo Sand aquifer, Texas, USA. Chemical Geology 228, 57-71.

Tang J. and Johannesson K. H. (2005) Adsorption of rare earth elements onto Carrizo sand: Experimental investigations and modeling with surface complexation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 69, 5259-5272.

Johannesson K. H. (2005) Rare Earth Elements in Groundwater Flow Systems. Springer, Dordrecht. (,11855,5-10006-72-37345141-0,00.html)

Johannesson K. H., Cortés A., Ramos Leal J. A., Ramírez A. G., and Durazo J. (2005) Geochemistry of rare earth elements in groundwater from a rhyolite aquifer, central México. In: K. H. Johannesson (ed.) Rare Earth Elements in Groundwater Flow Systems. Springer, (Dordrecht), pp. 187-222.

Tang J. and Johannesson K. H. (2005) Rare earth element concentrations, speciation, and fractionation along groundwater flow paths: The Carrizo Sand (Texas) and Upper Floridan aquifers. In: K. H. Johannesson (ed.) Rare Earth Elements in Groundwater Flow Systems. Springer, (Dordrecht), pp. 223-251.

Shand P., Johannesson K. H., Chudaev O., Chudaeva V., and Edmunds W. M. (2005) Rare earth element contents of high pCO2groundwaters of Primorye, Russia: Mineral stability and complexation controls. In: K. H. Johannesson (ed.) Rare Earth Elements in Groundwater Flow Systems. Springer, (Dordrecht), pp. 161-186.

Zhou X., Stetzenbach K. J., Yu Z., and Johannesson K. H. (2005) Origin of rare earth element signatures in groundwaters of south Nevada, USA: Implications from preliminary batch leach tests using aquifer rocks. In: K. H. Johannesson (ed.) Rare Earth Elements in Groundwater Flow Systems. Springer, (Dordrecht), pp. 141-160.

Tang J., Whittecar G. R., Johannesson K. H., and Daniels W. L. (2004) Potential contaminants at a dredged spoil placement site, Charles City County, Virginia, as revealed by sequential extraction. Geochemical Transactions 5, 49-60.

Johannesson, K. H., Tang, J., Daniels, J. M., Bounds, W. J., and Burdige, D. J., 2004. Rare earth element concentrations and speciation in organic-rich blackwaters of the Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia, USA. Chemical Geology 208, 217-294.

Johannesson K. H., Cortés A., and Kilroy K. C. (2003) Reconnaissance isotopic and hydrochemical study of Cuatro Ciénegas groundwater, Coahuila, México. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 17, 171-180.

Tang J. and Johannesson K. H. (2003) Speciation of rare earth elements in natural terrestrial waters: Assessing the role of dissolved organic matter from the modeling approach. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, 2321-2339.

Ojiambo S. B., Lyons W. B., Welch K. A., Poreda R. J., and Johannesson K. H. (2003) Strontium isotopes and rare earth elements as tracers of groundwater – lake water interactions, Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Applied Geochemistry 18, 1789-1805.

Farnham I. M., Johannesson K. H., Singh A. K., Hodge V. F., and Stetzenbach K. J. (2003) Factor analytical approaches for evaluating groundwater trace element chemistry data. Analytica Chimica Acta  490, 123-138.

Stetzenbach K. J., Hodge V. F., Guo C., Farnham I. M. and Johannesson K. H. (2001). Geochemical and statistical evidence of deep carbonate groundwater within overlying volcanic rock aquifers/aquitards of southern Nevada, USA. Journal of Hydrology 243, 254-271.

Courses Taught

EENS 4300 – Groundwater Hydrology
EENS 4360 – Environmental Geochemistry
EENS 6082 – Geogenic Arsenic Pollution
EENS 6082 – Geochemical Modeling
EENS 6300 – Groundwater Hydrology
EENS 6360 – Environmental Geochemistry

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764