Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2020


The Upper Clark Fork River Basin is home to many current and abandoned mining sites which contribute to the presence of heavy metals. Heavy metals on surface sediments can harm human and ecological health, so it is important to identify these contaminants for removal.

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is an active spectroscopy method because it uses a laser pulse to remove a small amount of mass through laser ablation. As the electrons return to their ground states, the unique spectral signatures and intensity can determine the percentage of the element in the sample.

Hyperspectral Spectroscopy (HS) is a passive method that uses natural light reflected from the sample to determine the range and concentration of the wavelength emitted. The resulting plot compares reflectance versus wavelength. HS can be applied to an airborne survey.


Rachel Hadley is a senior in geophysical engineering and is from Dayton, NV. After graduation, she will begin work this summer with Water & Environmental Technologies (W.E.T.).

Marihelen Held is a senior in geophysical engineering from Great Falls, MT. She will be attending Colorado School of Mines in the fall as part of the Reservoir Characterization Project.