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Dina López

Dina Lopez, portrait
Professor Emerita of Geological Sciences

Recent News


Ph.D., 1992, Louisiana State University (Geology)

M.S., 1979, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Physics)

B.S., 1975, Universidad de El Salvador (Chemistry)

Research Interests

Geochemistry and Hydrogeology

  • Geochemical and hydrogeological modeling
  • Arsenic in the environment and health
  • Pesticides and health impacts
  • Volcanic soil degassing
  • Geochemistry of hydrothermal sytems
  • Acid mine drainage

In recent years and in my future retirement, my research has taken a twist to the investigation of the environmental causes of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology in El Salvador and problems associated to arsenic contamination in different environmental phases. In addition, I continue working with impacts of acid mine drainage in streams of Ohio. In general, my research interests include the geochemistry and hydrogeology of geothermal systems (including diffuse soil degassing and heat flow studies), and environmental problems such as acid mine drainage and arsenic contamination in water. For my research, I am using new modeling tools as artificial neural networks and geographical weighted regression and other multivariate analysis methods for assessing the relationships between the environmental variables and dependent variables as discharge, chemical composition, or the incidence of the disease according to the specific problem.  At the present time, my areas of research in geothermal systems are located in Central America (El Salvador, Honduras), and in Canary Islands, Spain. The release of gases from the magmatic environment, their incorporation to the groundwater system, and their release to the air at the soil-air interface can provide important information about the volcanic activity, fluid paths, and preferential routes of circulation in the upper crust. This information is important for geothermal energy exploitation as well as for volcanic monitoring. I am also interested in environmental problems associated with mining and resource exploitation. Within Ohio, I investigate the chemistry, fluid flow, and mass transfer associated with acid mine drainage from coal mines. The exploitation of sulfide-rich coal in this region produces mine drainage of low pH and high acidity and metal concentrations (mainly iron, aluminum, and manganese) affecting hundreds of miles of streams and aquatic life. I investigate the hydrology of abandoned coal mines and the fate of the acid mine drainage chemicals in the environment. In addition, I have also investigated a closed uranium mine in Poços de Caldas, Brazil. I am investigating arsenic in volcanic lakes and groundwaters, and acid mine drainage problems in El Salvador. I belong to the Appalachian Watersheds Research Group of Ohio University. This group has a multidisciplinary approach to the study of acid mine drainage problem and treatment. During the recent years we have focused in studying the relationship between the physics of the flow, the chemistry of water and sediments, and the biology of the stream in the acid mine drainage problem, especially in the response to remediation, such as alkalinity additions. My students and I have been working in the modeling of these processes in the rivers of Ohio.

Courses Taught

  • GEOL 2050: Statistical Methods in Geology
  • GEOL 2310: Water and Pollution
  • GEOL 3/5050: Modeling and Computer Methods in Geology
  • GEOL 4/5270: Water Geochemistry
  • GEOL 4/5280: Physical Geochemistry
  • GEOL 4/5290: Contaminant Geochemistry
  • GEOL 4/5710: Advanced Environmental Geology
  • GEOL 4/5810: Groundwater Flow Modeling
  • GEOL 4/5820: Transport Processes in Groundwater

Professional Appointments

2008-present, Professor

2001-2008, Associate Professor

1995-2001, Assistant Professor

Representative Publications

Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Process (41 papers)

Morales-Simfors, N., Bundschuh, J., Herath, I. Inguaggiato, C., Caselli, A.T., Tapia, J., Erlingtton, F., Chequehuayta, A., Armienta, M.A., Ormachea, M., Joseph, E., López, D.L., 2019. Arsenic in Latin America: A critical overview on the geochemistry of arsenic originating from geothermal features and volcanic emissions for solving its environmental consequences, The Science of the Total Environment, November 2019, Elsevier, DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.13556

López, D.L., Araujo, P.A., Delgado Outeiriño, I., Cid, J.A., and G. Astray, G. 2018. Geochemical signatures of the groundwaters from Ourense thermal springs, Galicia, Spain. Sustainable Water Resources Management, pp 1-14.

Marrero-Diaz, R.,  López, D.L., Pérez, N.P., Custodio, E., Melián, G.V., Padrón, E., Hernández, Padrón, E., 2017.Fluorine in Groundwater in Central Tenerife Island (Canary Islands, Spain). 15th Water-Rock Interaction International Symposium, WRI-15. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science.  Available online at

Richardson, J., Lopez, D., Leftwich, T., Angle, M., Wolfe, M., and Fugitt, F., 2016, The characterization of flooded abandoned mines in Ohio as a low-temperature geothermal resource, in Dowling, C.B., Neumann, K., and Florea, L.J., eds., Geothermal Energy: An Important Resource: Geological Society of America Special Paper 519,  p. 19–41, doi:10.1130/2016.2519(02).

López Larios, D.L., Araujo, P.A., Delgado, I., Cid, J.A., y Astray Dopazo, G., 2015. Geochemistry of hydrothermal systems: thermal springs of Ourense. Proceedings 1st International Congress on Water Healing SPA and Quality of Life, Ourense, Spain, 23-24 September 2015. Failde Garrido, J.M. et al. editors, Campus da Auga, Vicerrectoria del Campus de Ourense, Universida de Vigo, pp. 23-26.

Marrero-Diaz, R., Alcalá, F.J., Nemesio M. Pérez, N.M., López, D.L., Melián, G.V., Padrón, E. and Padilla, G.D., 2015. Aquifer recharge estimation through atmospheric chloride mass balance at Las Cañadas Caldera, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, Journal Water, v. 7, 2451-2471.

Marrero-Diaz, R.,  López, D.L., Pérez, N.P., Custodio, E., Sumino, H. Melián, G.V., Padrón, E., Hernández, P.A., Calvo, D., Barrancos, J., Padilla. G., Sortino, F., 2015. Carbon dioxide and helium dissolved gases in groundwater at central Tenerife Island, Canary Islands: chemical and isotopic characterization. Bull Volcanol vol. 77:86, pp. 1-18.

Acid Mine Drainage and Other Contaminant Problems (50 papers)

Bundschuh, J., Armienta, M.A., Morales-Simfors, N., Ayaz Alam, M., López, D.L., Delgado Quezada, V., Dietrich, S., Schneider, J., Tapia, J., Sracek, O., Castillo, E., Parra, L.M.M., Altamirano Espinoza, M., Guimarães Guilherme, L.R., Sosa, N.N., Niazi, N.K., Tomaszewska, B., Lizama Allende, K., Bieger, K., Alonso, D.L., Brandão, P.F.B., Bhattacharya, P., Litter, M.I. & Ahmad, A. (2020) Arsenic in Latin America: New findings on source, mobilization and mobility in human environments in 20 countries based on decadal research 2010-2020, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/10643389.2020.1770527

Howard, Lucas, and Lopez, D.L. Nutrient and Sulfate Variations along the Maumee River, Ohio, USA. Paper submitted to the EWRCON19 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2019, May 2019, Pittsburgh, PA. . (Student author)

Kruse, N., Hawkins, C., Lopez, D.L., Johnson, K., 2019.  Recovery of an acid mine drainage-impacted Stream Treated by Steel Slag Leach Beds: A Case Study in the East Branch of Raccoon Creek, Ohio, Mine Water and the Environment, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 718–734 

Zhang, Q. and López, D.L., 2019. Use of Time Series Analysis to Evaluate the Impacts of Underground Mining on the Hydraulic Properties of Groundwater of Dysart Woods, Ohio, Mine Water and the Environment v.3, pp.566–580.

Howard, Lucas, and Lopez, D.L. Nutrient and Sulfate Variations along the Maumee River, Ohio, USA. Paper submitted to the EWRCON19 World Environmental & Water Resources Congress 2019, May 2019, Pittsburgh, PA.

Quinteros, E., Ribó, A., Mejía, R.,  López, A., Belteton, W., Comandari, A., Orantes, C.M.,  Pleites, E.B., Hernández, C.E., López, D.L., 2017. Heavy metals and pesticide exposure from agricultural activities and former agrochemical factory in a Salvadoran rural community. Environ Sci Pollut Res v.24, pp. 1662–1676.

Gómez-Puentes, F.J., Pérez-Flores, M.A., Reyes-López, J.A., López, D.L.,  Herrera-Barrientos, F., García-Cueto, R.O., Romero-Hernández, S., Solís-Domínguez, F.A., Loeches Garrido, M.M., 2016. Geochemical modeling and low-frequency geoelectrical methods to evaluate the impact of an open dump in arid and deltaic environments. Environmental Earch Sciences, 75:1062.

Astray, G., Fernández González, M., Rodríguez Rajo, F.J., López, D., Mejuto, J.C., 2016. Airborne catanea pollen forecasting model for ecological and allergological implementation. Science of the Total Environment, STOTEN, v. 548-549, pp. 110-121.

Astray, G., Soto, B., López, D., Iglesias, M.A., and Mejuto, J.C., 2016. Application of transient data analysis and artificial neural network in the prediction of discharge of Lor River, NW Spain. Water Science and Technology, pp. 1756-1767.

Gbolo, Prosper, and López, Dina L., 2015. Analysis of trace elements pollution within streambed sediments from the Shade River Watershed, southeastern Ohio. Environ Earth Sci, vol. 73, pp. 7193–7204.

Hernandez Suárez M, Astray Dopazo G, Larios López D, Espinosa F, 2015. Identification of Relevant Phytochemical Constituents for Characterization and Authentication of Tomatoes by General Linear Model Linked to Automatic Interaction Detection (GLM-AID) and Artificial Neural Network Models (ANNs). PLOS ONE 10(6): e0128566. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128566.

López. A., Ribó. A., Quinteros E., Mejía. R., Alfaro, D., Beltetón W., Orantes C.M., Hernández, C.E., Pleites E., López D.L., 2016. Riesgo de exposición a contaminantes nefrotóxicos en las comunidades Las Brisas, El Salvador. Proceedings Congress of Engineering and Architecture CONIA 2015, Universidad Católica Centroamericana Jose Simeon Cañas, San Salvador, El Salvador, p. 1-16.

Recent Titles of Advisee's Completed Theses

Ajayi, Toluwaleke, Modelling of discharge and chemical transport of Hewett Fork, a sub-watershed of Raccoon Creek River, Ohio, M.S. in Geology, In Progress, Ohio University

Grimaldi, David, Dissolved gases and a carbon dioxide balance for the San Vicente Geothermal Field in El Salvador, Central America, M.S. in Geology, 2020, Ohio University.

Madera-Martorell, Andreana,  Potential use of abandoned underground coal mine AS-029 as a reservoir for ground source heat pumps, Athens, OH, M.S. in Environmental Studies, 2020, Ohio University.

Barkett, Sebastian D., Physical and chemical carameters determining bacterial growth of acid mine drainage sites in Southeast Ohio, . M.S. in Geology, 2020, Ohio University.

Ayo-Bali, Abiodum E. Geochemical Analysis of the Environmental Phases of La Barra de Santiago Estuary, El Salvador. M.S. in Geology, 2019, Ohio University.

Howard, Lucas. Nutrient Loading From The Maumee River To Lake Erie. M.S. in Geology, 2019, Ohio University.

Schafer, Lindsey A., Statistical analysis of mining parameters to create empirical models to predict mine pool formation in underground coal mines. M.S. in Geology, 2018, Ohio University.

Brourman, Hanna. Hydrogeological Assessment of Fracking Fluid Injection in Wells of Athens County, Ohio. M.S. in Geology, 2018, Ohio University.

Twumasi, Frederick. Applying MODFLOW and Artificial Neural Networks to Model the Formation of Mine Pools in Underground Coal Mines, M.S. in Geology, 2018, Ohio University.

McKay, Daniel. Modeling of discharge from the Upper Raccoon Creek River, OH. M.S. in Geology, 2017, Ohio University.

Maj, Sarah.   The Fate of Nutrients in Streams Affected by Acid Mine Drainage. M.S. in Geology, 2016, Ohio University.



  • Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Argentina for Teaching Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Systems, March-June, 2021.
  • Member of the Ohio Geology Advisory Council for the governor of Ohio (2010-2013).
  • Best Paper Award, 2006 meeting of the Geothermal Resources Council, Geofluids section, for the paper: "Assessment of silica scaling around injection wells of the Berlin Geothermal Field, El Salvador, using field experiments and chemical modeling".
  • Best Paper Award, 2004 meeting of the Geothermal Resources Council, for the paper: "Diffuse and Convective Degassing of Soil Gases and Heat at the TR-6-Zapotillo Hydrothermal Discharge Zone, Berlín Geothermal Field, El Salvador".
  • Victor de Sola 2003 National Award for outstanding contributions to the development of Geothermal Energy in El Salvador, LaGeo (Geothermal Energy Company in El Salvador).
  • Outstanding Faculty Award 1999, 2000, 2001, Department of Geological Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.
  • International Fellowship, American Association of University Women 1990-1991.
  • Fellowship, Organization of American States 1988-1990.
  • Fellowship (Agency for International Development) to get training in the experimental determination of physical properties of rocks, University of California in Berkeley, Dec. 1983- Jan. 1984.       
  • Scholarship (M. Sc. degree in Physics), LASPAU (Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities), 1977-79.
  • Scholarship, University of El Salvador, to study Physics (1969-1972)