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Bob Smith

Robert "Bob" Smith

Distinguished Professor of Subsurface Science


McClure 409



Mailing Address

Department of Geological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3022
Moscow, ID 83844-3022

  • Ph.D., Geosciences, 1984 – New Mexico Tech
  • M.S., Geochemistry, 1979 – New Mexico Tech
  • B.S., Geology, 1975 – Oregon State University

  • Aqueous biogeochemistry
  • Groundwater contamination remediation
  • Nuclear waste disposal and management
  • Geological Carbon Sequestration
  • Geothermal Energy

  • McLing TL, RP Smith, RW Smith, DD Blackwell, RC Roback, and AJ Sondrup (2016) Wellbore and groundwater temperature distribution eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho: Implications for groundwater flow and geothermal potential. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 320:144-155.
  • Neupane G, ED Mattson, TL McLing, CD Palmer, RW Smith, TR Wood, and RK Podgorney (2016) Geothermometric evaluation of geothermal resources in southeastern Idaho. Geothermal Energy Science, 4:11-22.
  • Neupane G, ED Mattson, TL McLing, CD Palmer, RW Smith, and TR Wood (2014) Deep geothermal reservoir temperatures in the Eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho using multicomponent geothermometry. Proceedings, Thirty-Ninth Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, February 24-26, 2014 SGP-TR-202, 12 pp.
  • Gebrehiwet TA, GD Redden, Y Fujita, MS Beig and RW Smith (2012) The Effect of the CO32- to Ca2+ Ion activity ratio on calcite precipitation kinetics and Sr2+ partitioning. Geochemical Transactions, 13:1 doi:10.1186/1467-4866-13-1.
  • Barkouki TH, BC Martinez, BM Mortensen, TS Weathers, JD De Jong, TR Ginn, NF Spycher, RW Smith, and Y Fujita (2011) Forward and Inverse Bio-Geochemical Modeling of Microbially Induced Calcite Precipitation in Half-Meter Column Experiments. Transport in Porous Media, 90:23-39. DOI: 10.1007/s11242-011-9804-z.
  • Wu Y, JB Ajo-Franklin, N Spycher, SS Hubbard, G Zhang, KH Williams, J Taylor, Y Fujita, and RW Smith (2011) Geophysical Monitoring and Reactive Transport Modeling of Ureolytically-Driven Calcium Carbonate Precipitation. Geochemical Transactions, 12:7 doi:10.1186/1467-4866-12-7.
  • Fujita Y, JL Taylor, LM Wendt, DW Reed, and RW Smith (2010) Evaluating the Potential of Native Ureolytic Microbes to Remediate a 90Sr Contaminated Environment. Environmental Science & Technology, 44:7652-7658.
  • Colwell F S, RW Smith, FG Ferris, A Reysenbach, Y Fujita, TL Tyler, JL Taylor, A Banta, ME Delwiche, TL McLing, and ME Watwood (2005) Microbially Mediated Subsurface Calcite Precipitation for Removal of Hazardous Divalent Cations: Microbial Activity, Molecular Biology, and Modeling. in Subsurface Contamination Remediation: Accomplishments of the Environmental Management Science Program (Berkey E, and T Zachry, eds.) American Chemical Society Symposium Series 904; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, pp 117-137.
  • Ferris FG, V Phoenix, Y Fujita, and RW Smith (2004) Kinetics of Calcite Precipitation Induced by Ureolytic Bacteria at 10 to 20 °C in Artificial Groundwater. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68:1701-1710.
  • Fujita Y, JL Taylor, TLT Gresham, ME Delwiche, FS Colwell, TL McLing, LM Petzke, RW Smith (2008) Stimulation of microbial urea hydrolysis in groundwater to enhance calcite precipitation. Environmental Science & Technology, 42:3025-3032.
  • Fujita Y, GD Redden, JC Ingram, MM Cortez, FG Ferris, and RW Smith (2004) Strontium Incorporation into Calcite Generated by Bacterial Ureolysis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68:3261-3270.Fujita Y, FG Ferris, RD Lawson, FS Colwell, and RW Smith (2000) Calcium Carbonate Precipitation by Ureolytic Subsurface Bacteria. Geomicrobiology Journal 17:305-318.
  • Logue BA, RW Smith, and JC Westall (2004) Role of Surface Alteration in Determining the Mobility of U(VI) in the Presence of Citrate: Implications for Extraction of U(VI) From Soils. Environmental Science & Technology 38:3752-3759.
  • Logue BA, RW Smith and JC Westall (2004) U(VI) Adsorption on Natural Iron-Coated Sands: Comparison of Approaches for Modeling Adsorption on Heterogeneous Environmental Materials. Applied Geochemistry 19:1937-1951.
  • Smith RW, TL McLing, W Barrash, WP Clement, and NP Erickson (2004) Geologic Sequestration of CO2: A Uniform Strategy for Assessing Mineralization Trapping Potential Across Rock Types. 3rd Annual Carbon Capture and Sequestration Proceedings; ExchangeMonitor Publications, Washington DC; #197, 6pp.
  • McLing TL, RW Smith, and TM Johnson (2002) Chemical Characteristics of Thermal Water Beneath the Eastern Snake River Plain. in Geology, Hydrogeology, and Environmental Remediation, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Eastern Snake River Plain (Link PK and LL Mink, eds.) Idaho Special Paper 354, Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO pp. 205-211.
  • Johnson TM, RC Roback, TL McLing, TD Bullen, DJ DePaolo, C Doughty, RJ Hunt, RW Smith, LD Cecil, and MT Murrell (2000) Groundwater “Fast Paths” in the Snake River Plain Aquifer: Radiogenic Isotope Ratios as Natural Groundwater Tracers. Geology 28:871-874.
  • Tobin KJ, FS Colwell, TC Onstott, and RW Smith (2000) Recent Calcite Spar in an Aquifer Waste Plume: A Possible Example of Contamination Driven Calcite Precipitation. Chemical Geology 169:449-460.
  • Bin-Shafique MS, JC Walton, N Gutierrez, RW Smith, and AJ Tarquin (1998) Influence of Carbonation on Leaching of Cementitious Wasteforms. Journal of Environmental Engineering 124:463-467.
  • Rosentreter JJ, HS Quarder, RW Smith, and TL McLing (1998) Uranium Sorption onto Natural Sands as a Function of Sediment Characteristics and Solution pH. In Metal Adsorption by Earth Materials (Jenne EA, ed.) Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 181-192.
  • Walton JC, MS Bin-Shafique, RW Smith, N Gutierrez, and A Tarquin (1997) Role of Carbonation in Transient Leaching of Cementitious Wasteforms. Environmental Science & Technology 31:2345-2349 (1997).
  • Tompson AFB, AL Schafer, and RW Smith (1996) Impact of Physical and Chemical Heterogeneity on Co-Contaminant Transport in a Sandy Porous Medium. Water Resources Research 32:801-818.
  • Smith RW and JC Walton (1993) The Role of Oxygen Diffusion in the Release of Technetium from Reducing Cementitious Wasteforms. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 294:731-736.
  • Smith RW and EA Jenne (1991) Recalculation, Evaluation, and Prediction of Surface Complexation Constants for Metal Adsorption on Iron and Manganese Oxides. Environmental Science & Technology 25:525-531 (1991).
  • Smith RW and JC Walton (1991) The Effect of Calcite Solid Solution Formation on the Transient Release of Radionuclides from Concrete Barriers. Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 212:403-409.
  • Murphy WM and RW Smith (1988) Irreversible Dissolution of Solid Solutions: a Kinetic and Stoichiometric Model. Radiochimica Acta 44/45:395-401.
  • Norman DI, KC Condie, RW Smith, and WF Thomann (1987) Geochemical and Sr and Nd Isotopic Constraints on the Origin of Late Proterozoic Volcanics and Associated Tin-Bearing Granites from the Franklin Mountains, West Texas. Canadian Journal of Earth Science 24:830-839.
  • Smith RW, CJ Popp, and DI Norman (1986) The Dissociation of Oxy-Acids at Elevated Temperatures. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 50:137-142.
  • Norman DI, W Ting, BR Putnam III, and RW Smith (1985) Mineralization of the Hansonburg Mississippi-Valley-Type Deposit, New Mexico: Insight from Composition of Gases in Fluid Inclusions. Canadian Mineralogist 23:353-368.

  • Rare Earth Elements as Tracers for Leakage in Carbon Capture and Storages Systems
    Large scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a promising approach for mitigating anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. However, successful deployment of this technology requires robust monitoring, verification, and validation (MVV) strategies and techniques to assess the effectiveness of storage.Because the concentrations of rare earth elements in groundwater are up to 6 order of magnitude lower than in rocks, changes in aqueous concentrations can serve as extremely sensitive indicators of water rock reaction resulting from the injection (and potential leakage) of geologically disposed carbon dioxide.In collaboration with investigators at the Idaho National Laboratory, we are developing a detailed hydrochemical model of natural carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide seeps in the Soda Springs, Idaho region and assessing the applicability of REEs as indicators and tracers of carbon dioxide leakage.Results form this research highlight the importance of a well constrained hydrochemical model for the interpretation of tracer data in CCS MVV.

  • Microbial Induced Calcite Precipitation
    Calcite can serve as a geotechnical cement providing for soil improvement in poorly consolidate sediments.In addition, calcite can also serve as a sink for divalent metals and radionuclide contaminants.With collaborators from Washington State University, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, the University of Toronto, and the Idaho National Laboratory we are explore approaches to stimulate in situ microbial communities to promote the precipitation of calcite.This is being accomplished at the field scale by the injection and hydrological control of dissolved carbon sources and urea to facilitating microbial growth, increased alkalinity and release of sorbed (via cation exchange) calcium and trace metals as a result of urea hydrolysis and the subsequent precipitation of calcite.The results of this research highlight the importance of coupled hydrologic and biogeochemical processes in the design of in situ soil improvement or remediation strategies.

  • Multicomponent Equilibrium Geothermometry
    Geothermal energy represent an underutilized reliable renewable resources suitable for meeting base-load power demands.Greater utilization of these resources are hampered by technical and financial risks associated with prospecting and development of geothermal fields.Geothermometry is an important prospecting tool for estimating reservoir temperatures from the geochemical compositions of shallower and cooler waters.Many geothermometers used in practice are based on correlations between water temperatures and composition and a subset of the dissolved constituents. An alternative approach – Multicomponent Equilibrium Geothermometry – uses complete water compositions and inverse geochemical modeling to estimate in situ equilibrium temperatures of potential geothermal reservoirs. In collaboration with investigators at the Idaho National Laboratory, we are developing inverse multicomponent equilibrium based geothermometers and applying them to potential geothermal reservoirs in southern Idaho and elsewhere. The results of this research can facilitate increased utilization of geothermal energy by providing improved exploration and early development reservoir temperature estimates.

2015 Partnership for Science and Technology’s Energy Advocate Award

1999 Lockheed Martin Corporation’s NOVA Award for technical excellence for pioneering scientific research, which has advanced the understanding of contaminant movement in subsurface environments and the field of biogeochemistry. Read into the Congressional Record by Senator Mike Crapo, June 28, 1999 (vol. 145, no. 93, p. S7752)

1985 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology’s Founders Award for significant contribution to the Institute through exemplary scholarship and research

Department of Geography and Geological Science

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192