Kayla Christian

Kayla Christian

Years participated in RESESS:

An Overview

Major: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Academic Affiliation: University of Illinois at Chicago
Research Mentors: Dr. Kirk Nordstrom, Kate Campbell, and Blaine McCleskey, USGS
Writing Mentor: Erin Lecky, CU


Kayla grew up in Chicago Illinois. Her interest in Geology started when she took her first environmental science class in college. When not studying, you can find her reading, editing videos, and looking for new bands to listen to. She is passionate about educating people and promoting discussions on global issues.


An analysis of methods for measuring aqueous iron redox species

Iron is highly reactive and often the most abundant cation in acid mine drainage (AMD). Consequently, accurate measurements of iron redox species for AMD are important. One method for measuring aqueous iron is a colorimetric method using FerroZine, an organic compound that forms a magenta colored species when it complexes with Fe(II). However, samples with high concentrations of Fe(III) compared to Fe(II), such as acid mine waters, can form a brick-red color that compromises the absorbance measurements of the Fe(II) concentrations. The objective of this study was to explore modifications to the current FerroZine method to improve the reliability of aqueous measurements with high concentrations of Fe(III). These modifications include: NaF addition (Herrera, et al., J. Chem Tech. Biotechnol. 1989, 44, 171-181), and the addition of HCl after color development to reduce the Fe(III) interference. This study found that the original FerroZine method became less reliable as Fe(III) concentrations neared 100 (mg/L). NaF addition improved the reliability of Fe(II) measurements in the presence of Fe(III) concentrations up to 100 (mg/L). The HCl addition reduced the brick-red color interference, but was also shown to degrade the ferrous color complex within hours. As a result the HCl addition is only useful when the samples can be analyzed immediately after this addition. As none of the modifications attempted in this study were viable options for measuring Fe(III) concentrations above 500 (mg/L), more work will need to be done to find a better alternative. The next step in our research will be to attempt Fe(II) and Fe(III) separation using ion chromatography.