Biosciences Division


Gary K. Jacobs

Gary K. Jacobs

Division Director
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6037
Phone:  (865)574-7374

Research Interests

Gary has always enjoyed problem solving, research, and management in the earth sciences. His strength is in being an Environmental Science Generalist, having performed fundamental and applied research in a broad range of topics using laboratory, field, computational, and theoretical methods. His formal training and experience was in high-temperature petrology and geochemistry. He has enjoyed the luxury of being able to experience many other of areas of science. Throughout his career at ORNL he has applied his expertise in geochemistry to (1) carbon sequestration R&D, (2) subsurface science, (3) in situ remediation science and technology, and (4) research on high-level radioactive waste disposal. He now enjoys the challenge of assimilating new knowledge across a broad spectrum of environmental science (e.g., atmospheric science, ecology, microbiology, and societal-technology interactions).

Gary serves as the point-of-contact for ORNL research under the following research programs of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research:

Climate Change Research:

Environmental Remediation Sciences:



Ph.D., Geochemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, 1981
Dissertation: Experimental and Thermodynamic Analysis of Metamorphic Devolatilization Equilibria in
H2O-CO2-CH4-NaCl Fluids at Elevated Pressures and Temperatures

B.A., Geology, The University of Vermont, with Honors, 1976
Honors Thesis: Geochemistry and Emplacement of a Metagabbroic Sheeted-Dike and Sill Complex in Lowell, Vermont


  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1983 - present
  • Basalt Waste Isolation Project, Rockwell Hanford Operations, Richland, Washington, 1981 - 1983
  • Grand Valley State University, Department of Geology, Allendale, Michigan, 1980 - 1981

Selected Publications & Presentations

Carbon Sequestration

  • Phelps, T J., D. J. Peters, S. L. Marshall, O. R. West, L. Liang, J. G. Blencoe, V. Alexiades, G. K. Jacobs, M. T. Naney, J. L. Heck, Jr., 2001, A new experimental facility for investigating the formation and properties of gas hydrates under simulated seafloor conditions, Review of Scientific Instruments 72, 1514-1521.
  • Jacobs, G. K., R. C. Dahlman, F. B. Metting, 2001, Carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems: A status report on R&D progress, Proceedings of the First National Conference on Carbon Sequestration, Washington, D.C., May 15-17, 2001.
  • Jacobs, G. K., S. M. Benson, and K. C. Caldeira, 2001, Carbon sequestration pathways in 2030: Geological, Ocean, and Terrestrial Systems, AAAS Symposium – Carbon Management: Energy and Environmental Solutions for the 21st Century, February 15-20, San Francisco, CA Amthor, J.S. and G. K. Jacobs, 2000, Enhancing Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems: Goals, Processes, and Limits, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA December 18, 2000.
  • Jacobs, G. K. and G. R. Hendrey, 2000, Chapter Four Coordinators – Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems in US DOE, Carbon Sequestration Research and Development, DOE/SC/FE-1, Washington, D.C.

Fate and Transport Geochemistry

  • Gu, B., T. J. Phelps, L. Liang, M. Dickey, Y. Roh, B. L. Kinsall, A. V. Palumbo, G. K. Jacobs, G. K., 1999, Biogeochemical Dynamics in Zero-Valent Iron Columns: Implications for Permeable Reactive Barriers, Environ. Sci. Technol. 33, 2170-2177.
  • Jardine, P. M., G. K. Jacobs, and G. V. Wilson, 1993, Unsaturated transport processes in undisturbed heterogeneous porous media I. Inorganic Contaminants, Soil Science Society of America Journal 57, 945-953.
  • Jardine, P. M., G. K. Jacobs, and J. D. O'Dell, 1993, Unsaturated transport processes in undisturbed heterogeneous porous media II. Co-Contaminants, Soil Science Society of America Journal 57, 954-962.
  • Jardine, P. M. and G. K. Jacobs, 1992, Unsaturated transport of inorganic cations in undisturbed soil columns, in Proceedings of the DOE Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Radionuclide Adsorption Workshop at Los Alamos National Laboratory, September 11-12, 1990, J. A. Canepa, compiler, Los Alamos National Laboratory Report LA-12323-C, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
  • Cole, D. R., H. Ohmoto, and G. K. Jacobs, 1992, Isotopic exchange in mineral-fluid systems: Rates and mechanisms of oxygen isotope exchange in the system granite+H2O+NaCl+KCl at hydrothermal conditions, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 56, 445-466.

In Situ Vitrification

  • Dunbar, N. W., G. K. Jacobs, and M. T. Naney, 1995, Crystallization processes in an artificial magma: Variations in crystal shape, growth rate, and compositions with melt cooling history, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 120, 412-425.
  • Alexiades, V. and G. K. Jacobs, 1994, Solidification modeling of in situ vitrification melts, in Proceedings of Dynamic Systems and Applications, Vol. 1, G. S. Ladde and M. Sambandham, eds., Dynamic Publishers, 11-16.
  • Alexiades, V., G. K. Jacobs, and N. W. Dunbar, 1994, Constraints on mass balance of soil moisture during in situ vitrification, Environmental Geology 23, 83-88.
  • Dunbar, N. W., L. R. Riciputi, G. K. Jacobs, M. T. Naney, and W. H. Christie, 1993, Generation of rhyolitic melt in a an artificial magma: Implications for fractional crystallization processes in natural magma, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 57, p. 157-166.
  • Jacobs, G. K., N. W. Dunbar, M. T. Naney, and R. T. Williams, 1992, Petrologic and geophysical studies of an artificial magma, EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 73, p. 401 & 411-412.
  • Spalding, B. P., G. K. Jacobs, N. W. Dunbar, M. T. Naney, J. S. Tixier, and T. D. Powell, 1992, Tracer-level radioactive pilot-scale test of In situ Vitrification for the stabilization of contaminated soil sites at ORNL, ORNL/TM-12201, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

High-Level Radioactive Waste

  • Jacobs, G. K., 1989, A summary of the geochemical characteristics of shale important to waste isolation, ORNL/TM-10981, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee Jacobs, G. K. and S. H. Stow, 1989, Geoscience and high-level radioactive waste, ORNL Review 22, No. 2 & 3.
  • Güven, N., C. R. Landis, and G. K. Jacobs, 1988, Characterization of clay minerals and organic matter in shales: Application to high-level nuclear waste isolation, ORNL/TM-10759, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
  • Kelmers, A. D., R. E. Meyer, G. K. Jacobs, and J. G. Blencoe, 1987, Radionuclide sorption methodologies for performance assessments of high-level nuclear waste repositories: A perspective gained from an NRC workshop, Nuclear Safety 28, 515-522.
  • Jacobs, G. K. and S. K. Whatley, 1985, Proceedings of a conference on the application of geochemical models to high-level nuclear waste repository assessment, NUREG/CP-0062, ORNL/TM-9585, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
  • Early, T. O., G. K. Jacobs, and D. R. Drewes, 1984, Geochemical controls on radionuclide releases from a nuclear waste repository in basalt: Estimated solubilities for selected elements, in Geochemical Behavior of Disposed Radioactive Waste, G. S. Barney, J. D. Navratil, and W. W. Schulz, eds., Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Series 246, Washington, D.C., 146-166.
  • Crisman, D. P. and G. K. Jacobs, 1982, Native copper deposits of the Portage Lake Volcanics, Michigan: Their implications with respect to canister stability for nuclear waste isolation in the Columbia River Basalts beneath the Hanford Site, Washington, RHO-BWI-ST-26, Rockwell Hanford Operations, Richland, Washington.

High-Temperature Petrology

  • Kerrick, D. M. and G. K. Jacobs, 1981, A modified Redlich-Kwong equation of state for H2O, CO2, and H2O- CO2 mixtures at elevated pressures and temperatures, American Journal of Science 281, 735-767.
  • Jacobs, G. K., D. M. Kerrick, and K. M. Krupka, 1981, The high-temperature heat capacity of natural calcite, Physics and Chemistry of Minerals 7, 55-59.
  • Jacobs, G. K. and D. M. Kerrick, 1981, Devolatilization equilibria in H2O-CO2 and H2O-CO2-NaCl fluids: An experimental and thermodynamic evaluation at elevated pressures and temperatures, American Mineralogist 66, 1135-1153.
  • Jacobs, G. K. and D. M. Kerrick, 1980, Methane: An equation of state with application to the ternary system H2O-CO2-CH4, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 45, 607-614.
  • Jacobs, G. K. and D. M. Kerrick, 1981, APL and FORTRAN programs for a new equation of state for H2O, CO2, and their mixtures at supercritical conditions, Computers & Geoscience 7, 131-143.
  • Jacobs, G. K. and D. M. Kerrick, 1980, A simple rapid-quench design for cold-seal pressure vessels, American Mineralogist 65, 1053-1056.

Professional Activities


  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • Tennessee Registered Professional Geologist (TN# 0354)

Professional Development

  • City of Oak Ridge Leadership Class (1999)
  • University of Tennessee Executive Development Program (1998)
  • ORNL Leadership Development Program (1997)

Workshops Co-Organized

  • Workshop on Carbon Sequestration Research and Development. (Co-Chaired session on Terrestrial Ecosystems), Gaithersburg, MD, October 1999 (DOE/SC/FE-1)
  • In Situ Vitrification R&D Needs Workshop, Oak Ridge, TN, October 1996. (DOE Subsurface Contaminants Focus Area Report)
  • Artificial Magma Program Research Strategy Workshop, Oak Ridge, TN, March 1994 (ORNL/TM-13015)
  • Radionuclide sorption methodologies for performance assessments of high-level nuclear waste repositories, Silver Spring, MD, May 1986. (Nuclear Safety 28, 1987, p. 515-522)
  • Conference on the application of geochemical models to high-level nuclear waste repository performance assessment, Oak Ridge, TN, October 1984. (ORNL/TM-9585)