Avner Vengosh

Avner Vengosh

Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences

External address: 
308 Research Drive, A-207 LSRC, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708-0230
(919) 681-8050

My research aims to link environmental geochemistry and isotope hydrology in order to trace the sources and mechanisms of water contamination and relationships with human health. Current research includes global changes of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water resources due to human intervention and contamination, salinization of water resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa, naturally occurring contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, boron) and radioactivity in water resources, the impact of coal combustion residues on the environment, and the impact of gas drilling and hydro-fracking on the quality of shallow groundwater.


  • Ph.D., Australian National University (Australia) 1990
  • M.S., Hebrew University 1986
  • B.S., Hebrew University 1984

Jackson, R. B., A. Vengosh, J. W. Carey, R. J. Davies, T. H. Darrah, F. O’Sullivan, and G. Pétron. The environmental costs and benefits of fracking. Vol. 39, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-031113-144051. Full Text

Weinthal, Erika, Avner Vengosh, and Kate Neville. “The Nexus of Energy and Water Quality.” Oxford University Press, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199335084.013.26. Full Text

Vinson, D. S., J. R. Lundy, G. S. Dwyer, and A. Vengosh. “Sr isotopes, hydrogeologic setting, and water-rock interaction in the Mt. Simon Sandstone (Minnesota, USA).” In Water-Rock Interaction, 111–14, 2010.

Vengosh, A. “Salinization and Saline Environments.” In Treatise on Geochemistry, 9–9:1–35, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1016/B0-08-043751-6/09051-4. Full Text

Coyte, Rachel M., Kristen L. McKinley, Sheng Jiang, Jonathan Karr, Gary S. Dwyer, Amy J. Keyworth, Christina C. Davis, Andrew J. Kondash, and Avner Vengosh. “Occurrence and distribution of hexavalent chromium in groundwater from North Carolina, USA.The Science of the Total Environment 711 (April 2020): 135135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135135. Full Text

Gao, Jinliang, Caineng Zou, Wei Li, Yunyan Ni, Fengrong Liao, Limiao Yao, Jianli Sui, and Avner Vengosh. “Hydrochemistry of flowback water from Changning shale gas field and associated shallow groundwater in Southern Sichuan Basin, China: Implications for the possible impact of shale gas development on groundwater quality.The Science of the Total Environment 713 (January 9, 2020): 136591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136591. Full Text

Wang, Z., G. S. Dwyer, D. S. Coleman, and A. Vengosh. “Lead Isotopes as a New Tracer for Detecting Coal Fly Ash in the Environment.” Environmental Science and Technology Letters 6, no. 12 (December 10, 2019): 714–19. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00512. Full Text

Coyte, Rachel M., Anjali Singh, Kirin E. Furst, William A. Mitch, and Avner Vengosh. “Co-occurrence of geogenic and anthropogenic contaminants in groundwater from Rajasthan, India.The Science of the Total Environment 688 (October 2019): 1216–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.334. Full Text

Vengosh, Avner, Ellen A. Cowan, Rachel M. Coyte, Andrew J. Kondash, Zhen Wang, Jessica E. Brandt, and Gary S. Dwyer. “Evidence for unmonitored coal ash spills in Sutton Lake, North Carolina: Implications for contamination of lake ecosystems.The Science of the Total Environment 686 (October 2019): 1090–1103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.05.188. Full Text

Tomlinson, Martha Scott, Paige Bommarito, Andrew George, Sarah Yelton, Peter Cable, Rachel Coyte, Jonathan Karr, Avner Vengosh, Kathleen M. Gray, and Rebecca C. Fry. “Assessment of inorganic contamination of private wells and demonstration of effective filter-based reduction: A pilot-study in Stokes County, North Carolina.Environmental Research 177 (October 2019): 108618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2019.108618. Full Text

Furst, Kirin E., Rachel M. Coyte, Margaret Wood, Avner Vengosh, and William A. Mitch. “Disinfection Byproducts in Rajasthan, India: Are Trihalomethanes a Sufficient Indicator of Disinfection Byproduct Exposure in Low-Income Countries?Environmental Science & Technology 53, no. 20 (October 2019): 12007–17. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b03484. Full Text

McMahon, Peter B., Avner Vengosh, Tracy A. Davis, Matthew K. Landon, Rebecca L. Tyne, Michael T. Wright, Justin T. Kulongoski, et al. “Occurrence and Sources of Radium in Groundwater Associated with Oil Fields in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, California.Environmental Science & Technology 53, no. 16 (August 7, 2019): 9398–9406. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b02395. Full Text

House, John S., Jonathan Hall, Sarah S. Park, Antonio Planchart, Eric Money, Rachel L. Maguire, Zhiqing Huang, et al. “Cadmium exposure and MEG3 methylation differences between Whites and African Americans in the NEST Cohort.Environ Epigenet 5, no. 3 (July 2019): dvz014. https://doi.org/10.1093/eep/dvz014. Full Text


Vengosh, Avner. “Water quality as an additional factor for the energy-water nexus: Distribution of contaminants in water impacted by fossil fuels activities.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 255. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2018.

Lauer, Nancy, Avner Vengosh, and Shifeng Dai. “Naturally occurring radioactive materials in coals and coal ash in China.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 255. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2018.

Vengosh, Avner, and Andrew Kondash. “Risks for reuse of unconventional oil and gas wastewater.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 255. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2018.

Vengosh, Avner, Andrew Kondash, Jennie Harkness, Nancy Lauer, Nathaniel Warner, and Thomas H. Darrah. “The Geochemistry of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids.” In Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 17:21–24. Elsevier BV, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.011. Full Text

Darrah, Thomas, Robert Jackson, Robert Poreda, Karlis Muehlenbachs, Nathaniel Warner, Colin Whyte, and Avner Vengosh. “Using noble gas geochemistry to determine the source and mechanism of natural gas leakage into shallow aquifers near unconventional drilling.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 251. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2016.

Esser, Bradley, Harry Beller, Susan Carroll, John Cherry, Jan Gillespie, Robert Jackson, Preston Jordan, et al. “Groundwater monitoring for oil and gas development under California SB4.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 251. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2016.

Lauer, Nancy, Jennifer Harkness, and Avner Vengosh. “Geochemical characterization of brine spills associated with hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 251. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2016.

Drollette, Brian, Kathrin Schreglmann, Nathaniel Warner, Thomas Darrah, Megan O’Connor, Osman Karatum, Robert Nelson, et al. “Trace levels of diesel range organic compounds in shallow groundwater wells in northeastern Pennsylvania elevated near Marcellus shale gas wells.” In Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 249. AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2015.

Tarhouni, J., MF Ben Hamouda, A. J. Kondash, L. Mejri, and A. Vengosh. “Modeling the Recharge and the Renewal Rate Based on 3H and 14C Isotopes in the Coastal Aquifer of El Haouaria, Northern Tunisia.” In Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 13:199–202. Elsevier BV, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeps.2015.07.047. Full Text

Miller, J., K. Swana, S. Talma, A. Vengosh, G. Tredoux, R. Murray, and M. Butler. “O, H, CDIC, Sr, B and 14C Isotope Fingerprinting of Deep Groundwaters in the Karoo Basin, South Africa as a Precursor to Shale Gas Exploration.” In Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 13:211–14. Elsevier BV, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeps.2015.07.050. Full Text


Jackson, R. B., A. Vengosh, J. W. Carey, R. J. Davies, T. H. Darrah, F. O’Sullivan, and G. Petron. “The environmental costs and benefits of fracking.” Petroleum Abstracts, January 1, 2016.

Down, A., K. Schreglmann, D. L. Plata, M. Elsner, N. R. Warner, A. Vengosh, K. Moore, D. Coleman, and R. B. Jackson. “Ground water: Pre-drilling background groundwater quality in the Deep River Triassic Basin of central North Carolina, USA.” Petroleum Abstracts, January 1, 2016.

Selected Grants

Gas and Oil Isotope Sample Analysis awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2021

Geochemical characteristics of formation water in China awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

An Investigation of Elemental Coal Ash Contamination of Soils in Iredell County, NC awarded by University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Co-Principal Investigator). 2020

Gas and Oil Isotopic Analysis awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2020

Duke University Program in Environmental Health awarded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Mentor). 2013 to 2019

Tracing Groundwater Contamination Near Coal Ash Ponds in North Carolina awarded by North Carolina State University (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018