Avner Vengosh


Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Environmental Quality

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.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Distinguished Professor of Environmental Quality
  • Professor of Environmental Quality
  • Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke Kunshan University
  • Research Professor of Global Health
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 308 Research Drive, A-207 LSRC, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 681-8050
  • Email Address: vengosh@duke.edu
  • Websites:


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

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Leadership award by the Water-Rock Interaction (WRI) Working Group, . International Association of Geochemistry. 2019
  • Paper “Large-scale Uranium Contamination of Groundwater Resources in India” was selected as one of the best papers for 2018 . Editors of Environmental Science & Technology Letters. 2019
  • Paper “The geochemistry of naturally occurring methane and saline groundwater in an area of unconventional shale gas development” was selected to be the winner of the 2018 Dalway Swaine Award. Society for Organic Petrology . 2018
  • Geological Society of America (GSA) Fellow. Geological Society of America. 2015

Courses Taught

  • ECS 220: Water Sciences: Principles and Challenges
  • ECS 524: Water Quality Health
  • ENERGY 524: Water Quality Health
  • ENVIRON 220: Water Sciences: Principles and Challenges
  • ENVIRON 524: Water Quality Health
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • ENVIRON 997: Duke Environmental Leadership: Independent Studies and Projects
  • EOS 220: Water Sciences: Principles and Challenges
  • EOS 393: Research Independent Study
  • EOS 394: Research Independent Study
  • EOS 524: Water Quality Health
  • EOS 791: Independent Study
  • GLHLTH 534: Water Quality Health

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Wang, Z; Wade, AM; Richter, DD; Stapleton, HM; Kaste, JM; Vengosh, A, Legacy of anthropogenic lead in urban soils: Co-occurrence with metal(loids) and fallout radionuclides, isotopic fingerprinting, and in vitro bioaccessibility., The Science of the Total Environment, vol 806 no. Pt 3 (2022) [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151276] [abs].
  • Vengosh, A; Coyte, RM; Podgorski, J; Johnson, TM, A critical review on the occurrence and distribution of the uranium- and thorium-decay nuclides and their effect on the quality of groundwater., The Science of the Total Environment, vol 808 (2022) [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151914] [abs].
  • Redmon, JH; Kondash, AJ; Womack, D; Lillys, T; Feinstein, L; Cabrales, L; Weinthal, E; Vengosh, A, Is Food Irrigated with Oilfield-Produced Water in the California Central Valley Safe to Eat? A Probabilistic Human Health Risk Assessment Evaluating Trace Metals Exposure., Risk Analysis : an Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis, vol 41 no. 8 (2021), pp. 1463-1477 [10.1111/risa.13641] [abs].
  • Whyte, CJ; Vengosh, A; Warner, NR; Jackson, RB; Muehlenbachs, K; Schwartz, FW; Darrah, TH, Geochemical evidence for fugitive gas contamination and associated water quality changes in drinking-water wells from Parker County, Texas., The Science of the Total Environment, vol 780 (2021) [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146555] [abs].
  • Wang, Z; Coyte, RM; Cowan, EA; Stapleton, HM; Dwyer, GS; Vengosh, A, Evaluation and Integration of Geochemical Indicators for Detecting Trace Levels of Coal Fly Ash in Soils., Environmental Science & Technology, vol 55 no. 15 (2021), pp. 10387-10397 [10.1021/acs.est.1c01215] [abs].