Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Committee Member

Shichun Huang

Second Committee Member

Michael Nicholl

Third Committee Member

Minghua Ren

Fourth Committee Member

Jacimaria Batista

Number of Pages



Comprehending the natural water resource is imperative for the entire state of Nevada and of particular significance for Southern Nevada, where rapid population growth and climate change are placing significant strain on supplies. This research underscores the significance of water chemistry in identifying potential water source areas through trace elements. For the first time, the study proposed measuring the compositions of the entire suite of metal elements, ranging from Li to U, in over 40 springs in the Moapa Valley and its upper gradient valleys, utilizing the iCAP Qc ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer) at UNLV. The research evaluated correlations between various water samples collected throughout Southern Nevada, focusing on WRFS and many trace element compositions. Various inter-element correlations were observed and will be used to constrain the spring pathways by comparing the spring water metal compositions to those of local bedrock units. The principal component analysis (PCA) was primarily utilized to characterize the spring water sources. The trace element composition may be associated with aquifer material that could be helpful to identify groundwater movement. Additionally, the statistical analysis of the element concentrations revealed any relationship between the element concentrations and the host rock of the study area.


Geochemistry; Groundwater; ICP-MS; PCA; Trace Elements; Water Chemistry


Environmental Sciences | Geochemistry | Geology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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