COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Geosciences » James Saunders

James Saunders
Professor Emeritus

Research Areas: Geochemistry of metals in shallow crustal fluids, including groundwater, sedimentary brines, geothermal systems, and volcanic epithermal systems.

Office: 2064 Beard Eaves Coliseum

2050 Beard Eaves Coliseum
Auburn, AL 36849

Phone: (334) 844-4884
Fax: (334) 844-4486


Ph.D., Geology, Colorado School of Mines
M.A., Geology, University of Georgia
B.S., Geology, University of Auburn

Professional Employment

Professor, Auburn University
1991 - Present
Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi
1986 - 1991

Research and Teaching Interests

Jim Saunders teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in aqueous and environmental geochemistry, general geochemistry, and economic geology. Dr. Saunders' research involves the hydrothermal geochemistry of gold in volcanic settings and geology of epithermal deposits; gold deposits, aqueous and environmental geochemistry, environmental geology, and anaerobic bioremediation; geomicrobiology, geochemistry of metals and radionuclides in groundwater. Consequently, an integrated approach of rock petrography, isotopic and trace-element geochemical analyses, and numerical computer models are used to investigate these systems. Results have shed new light on the genesis of hydrothermal mineral deposits and the origin of naturally occurring trace metals in groundwater systems. Dr. Saunders' current research interests lie in the interaction of geochemistry and geomicrobiology of natural arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh (National Science Foundation); Sequestration of arsenic by iron sulfides formed by sulfate-reducing bacteria (Southern Company Services and Electrical Power Research Institute); Bacterial metabolism as an ore-forming process in sediment-host Zn-Pb-Ag ores from Ireland (Petroleum Research Fund of American Chemical Society), and origin of volcanic-hosted, bonanza gold deposits in northern Nevada/SW Idaho (U.S. Geological Survey, National Science Foundation).  Along with Drs. Lee and Uddin, he is currently working on geologic/biogeochemical causes of natural arsenic contamination in groundwater in young sedimentary aquifers in the USA and Bangladesh. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Saunders is also looking at bacterial involvement in certain sediment-hosted ore deposits, such as the Carboniferous carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag-Ba deposits of Ireland (supported by PRF-ACS). Dr. Saunders has been an associate editor of Elsevier's Ore Geology Reviews since 1996. Also is a part of International Association of Geochemists; Society of Economic Geology; Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA) International Association for the Genesis of Ore Deposits(IAGOD); The Geochemical Society; Sigma Xi (the Scientific Research Society).

Selected Publications

  1. Saunders, J.A., and Lee, M.-K., Thiosulfate model of gold nugget formation: Evidence form the southern Appalachian Piedmont: Journal of Geochemical Exploration, in review.
  2. Saunders, J.A., Steltenpohl, M.G., and Cook, R.B., 2013, Recent gold exploration and general geology of the Appalachian Piedmont of eastern Alabama: Society of Economic Geologists Newsletter, Nov., 2013, in press.
  3. Lee, M.-K, Natter, M., Jeff Keevan, Guerra, K., Saunders, J., Uddin, A., Humayun, M., Wang, Y., and Keimowitz, A., 2013, Assessing effects of climate change on Biogeochemical cycling of trace metals in Alluvial and Coastal Watersheds: British Journal of Environment & Climate Change, v. 3, p.  44-66.
  4. Saunders, J.A., Goldfarb, R., Hofstra, A.H., and Reed, M.H., 2013,  Geochemistry of hydrothermal gold deposits, in Scott, S.D., (ed.) Treatise of Geochemistry (Elsevier, invited chapter), in press.
  5. Saunders, J.A., Kamenov, G.D., Mathur, R., Shimizu, T., and Brueseke, M.E., 2013, Transport and deposition of metallic nanoparticles and the origin of bonanza epithermal ores: Biennial SGA Proceedings, Uppsala, Sweden, August, 2013, in press.

Last updated: 09/20/2018