James Kaste

Associate Professor

Office: McGlothlin-Street Hall 305
Email: [[jmkaste]]
Office Phone: 757 221 2951

  • Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College
  • M.S. in Geological Sciences, University of Maine
  • B.A. in Geological Sciences, SUNY Geneseo
Research Interests

Environmental geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, sediment transport

The goal of my research is to describe chemical and physical processes operating near the earth’s surface, with a focus on quantifying sediment transport, chemical weathering, and the fate of carbon and contaminants in the environment. My aim is to understand how processes at the earth’s surface are affected or disrupted by anthropogenic activities (groundwater withdrawal, acid and metal pollution, urban development) and global change. I develop and apply a number of lab and field-based approaches to quantify surface processes operating on timescales from months to millennia, including i) watershed solid and solute budgets, ii) lithogenic, artificial, and cosmogenic radionuclide tracers, and iii) quantitative characterization of soil mineralogy and soil profile development.

Current Projects
  • The fate of gasoline-derived Pb in forested watersheds
  • Using short-lived fallout radionuclides to date sediments and surfaces
  • The effects of Dams on sediment transport and habitats in rivers
  • Connecting groundwater decline to soil erosion in Owens Valley, CA
  • Chemical weathering of silicate minerals and the evolution of Spodosol Profiles
  • The natural trapping of Uranium by wetlands
Selected Publications

* denotes undergraduate author; ‡ denotes graduate student author

Kaste JM, Elmore AJ, ‡Vest KR, and Okin GS (2016) Groundwater controls on episodic soil erosion and dust emissions in a desert ecosystem. Geology vol. 44 (9), doi: 10.1130/G37875.1

Saxton MA, Naqvi NS, Rahman F, Thompson CP, Chambers RM, Kaste JM, and Williamson KE (2016) Site-specific environmental factors control bacterial and viral diversity in stormwater retention ponds. Aquatic Microbial Ecology vol. 77 (1), pp. 23-36.

Landis JD, Renshaw CE, and Kaste JM (2016) Beryllium-7 and lead-210 chronometry of modern soil processes: The Linked Radionuclide aCcumulation model, LRC
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta vol. 180, pp. 109-125

Hancock G, Hamilton SE, *Stone M, Kaste J, and ‡Lovette J (2015) A Geospatial Methodology to Identify Locations of Concentrated Runoff from Agricultural Fields
JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association vol. 51 (6), pp. 1613-1625.

Morra MJ, *Carter MM, Rember WC, and Kaste JM (2015) Reconstructing the history of mining and remediation in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Mining District using lake sediments.  Chemosphere, vol. 134, pp. 319-327.

‡Richardson JB, Donaldson EC, Kaste JM, Friedland AJ (2015) Forest floor lead, copper and zinc concentrations across the northeastern United States: Synthesizing spatial and temporal responses. Science of the Total Environment, vol. 505, pp. 851-859.

Landis JD, Renshaw CE, and Kaste JM (2015) Quantitative Retention of Atmospherically Deposited Elements by Native Vegetation Is Traced by the Fallout Radionuclides 7Be and 210Pb.  Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 48 (20), pp. 12022-12030.

‡Hansson SV, Kaste JM, Olid C, and Bindler R (2014) Incorporation of radiometric tracers in peat and implications for estimating accumulation rates.  Science of the Total Environment, vol. 493, pp. 170-177.

Hansson SV, Kaste JM, Chen K, and Bindler R (2014) Beryllium-7 as a natural tracer for short-term downwash in peat.  Biogeochemistry, vol. 119 (1-3), pp.329-339. 

Richardson JB, Friedland AJ, Kaste JM, and Jackson BP (2014) Forest floor lead changes from 1980-2011 and subsequent accumulation in the mineral soil across the northeastern United States.  Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 43 (3), pp. 926-935.  

Kaste JM, Magilligan FJ, Renshaw CE, Fisher GB, and Dade WB (2014) Seasonal controls on meteoric 7Be in coarse-grained river channels.  Hydrological Processes, vol.  28, 2738-2748. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.9800.

*Caverly E, Kaste JM, Hancock GS, and Chambers RM (2013) Dissolved and particulate organic carbon fluxes from an agricultural watershed during consecutive tropical storms.  Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, pp. 1-6.  DOI:10.1002/grl.50982.

Richardson JB, Friedland AJ, Kaste JM, *Engebretson TR, and Jackson BP (2013) Spatial and vertical distribution of mercury in upland forest soils across the northeastern United States.  Environmental Pollution vol. 182 pp. 127-134.  DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2013.07.01.

Vest KR, Elmore AJ, Kaste JM, Okin GS, and Li J (2013).  Estimating total horizontal aeolian flux within shrub-invaded groundwater dependent meadows using empirical and mechanistic models.  Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface.  DOI: 10.1002/jgrf.20048.

Lawrence GB, Fernandez IJ, Richter DD, Ross DS, Hazlett PW, Bailey SW, Ouimet R, Warby RAF, Johnson AH, Lin H, Kaste JM, Lapenis AG, and Sullivan TJ (2013) Measuring Environmental Change in Forest Ecosystems by Repeated Soil Sampling: A North American Perspective.  Journal of Environmental Quality. DOI:10.2134/jeq2012.0378.

*Stankwitz C, Kaste JM, and Friedland AJ (2012) Threshold Increases in Soil Lead and Mercury from Tropospheric Deposition Across an Elevational Gradient.  Environmental Science & Technology.  DOI: 10.1021/es204208w.

Landis JD,  Renshaw CE, and Kaste JM (2012) Measurement of 7Be in soils and sediments by gamma spectroscopy.  Chemical Geology vol. 291 pp.175-185. DOI:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2011.10.007.

Kaste JM, Elmore AJ, ‡Vest KR, and Okin GS (2011) Beryllium‐7 in soils and vegetation along an arid precipitation gradient in Owens Valley, California.  Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 38, article# L09401.  DOI:10.1029/2011GL047242.

Kaste JM, Bostick BC, Heimsath AM, Steinnes E, and Friedland A (2011) Using atmospheric fallout to date organic horizon layers and quantify metal dynamics during decomposition.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, vol. 75(6), pp. 1642-1661.    DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.01.011.

Kaste JM, and Baskaran M (2011) Meteoric 7Be and 10Be as Process Tracers in the Environment, In: “Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry” edited by Mark Baskaran.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8.

Clausen JL, Kaste J, Ketterer M, and Korte N (2010) Sample preparation and digestion considerations for determining metal deposition at small arms ranges.  International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, vol. 90, pp. 903-921.

Black E, Renshaw CE, Magilligan FJ, Kaste JM, Dade WB, and Landis JD (2010) Determining lateral migration rates of meandering rivers using fallout radionuclides.  Geomorphology, vol. 123, pp. 364-369.

Fisher GB, Magilligan FJ, Kaste JM, and Nislow KH (2010) Constraining the timescales of sediment sequestration associated with large woody debris using cosmogenic Be-7.  Journal of Geophysical Research- Earth Surface, vol. 115, article no. F01013. DOI: 10.1029/2009JF001352.

Dixon JL, Heimsath AM, Kaste J, and Amundson R (2009) Climate-driven processes of hillslope weathering.  Geology, vol. 37, pp. 975-978.

Svendsen KM, Renshaw CE, Magilligan FJ, Nislow KH, and Kaste JM (2009) Flow and sediment regimes at tributary junctions on a regulated river: impact on sediment residence time and benthic macroinvertebrate communities.  Hydrological Processes, vol. 23, pp. 284-296.

Elmore AJ, Kaste JM, Okin GS, Fantle MS (2008) Groundwater influences on atmospheric dust generation in deserts. Journal of Arid Environments, vol. 72, pp.1753– 1765

Schroth AW, Bostick BC, Kaste JM, Friedland AJ (2008) Lead sequestration and species redistribution during soil organic matter decomposition. Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 42, pp. 3627-3633.

Kaste JM, Heimsath AM, and BC Bostick (2007) Tracing short-term soil mixing with fallout radionuclides. Geology, vol. 35, pp. 243-246.

Kaste JM, Bostick BC, Friedland AJ, Schroth AW, and TG Siccama (2006) Fate and speciation of gasoline-derived lead in organic horizons of the Northeastern USA. Soil Science Society of America Journal, vol. 70, pp.1688-1698.

Kaste JM, Bostick BC, Heimsath, AM (2006) Determining 234Th and 238U in rocks, soils, and sediments via the doublet gamma at 93 keV. The Analyst, vol. 131, pp. 757-763.

Kaste JM, Heimsath AM, and Hohmann MG (2006) Quantifying sediment transport across an undisturbed prairie landscape using 137Cs and high resolution topography. Geomorphology, vol. 76, pp. 430-440.

Kaste JM, Friedland AJ, and Miller EK (2005) Potentially mobile lead fractions in montane organic-rich soil horizons. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, vol.167, pp. 139-154.

Kaste JM, Friedland AJ, and Sturup S (2003) Using stable and radioactive isotopes to trace atmospherically-deposited Pb in montane forest soils. Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 37, pp. 3560-3567.

Kaste JM, Norton SA, and Hess CT (2002) Environmental Chemistry of Beryllium-7: Mineralogical Society of America, Special Volume 50, 271-289