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Applied Geology and Geochemistry

Randy Kirkham

Randy Kirkham

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Since joining Battelle in 1980, Dr. Kirkham’s research has focused on designing and directing environmental field measurement and monitoring programs to increase understanding of water and soil transport processes. For the past 5 years, as the principle investigator directing research to assess generation and transport of particulate matter (dust) caused by military training, he worked to develop and deploy measurement systems to characterize air quality at large military bases and quantify emission factors for specific military vehicles traveling on unpaved roadways. Throughout Dr. Kirkham’s 25 years at PNNL, he has managed and designed the collection of environmental data (meteorological, vadose zone, and landscape characterization information) needed to support performance assessment activities, global climate modeling, and assessments of contaminant transport. Dr. Kirkham utilizes his expertise in measurement systems to develop and apply simple low-cost sampling systems for measurements in diverse media and environments, ranging from vapor emissions from below ground (VOC’s), surface generation of particulate matter (vehicle emissions), particulate matter in combination with combustion products (prescribed forest fires), and even a multi-chamber dissolved oxygen and temperature control system for fish egg development studies. Dr. Kirkham also has experience in the deployment and operation of visible and infrared cameras for image acquisition of live and stationary targets from various platforms including aircraft, towers and in environmental monitoring applications. He also has experience in scaling field point measurements to landscape scale using satellite and aerial image analysis and is experienced in the use and analysis of spatial data using geographic information systems.

Education and Credentials

  • B.S., Washington State University, Environmental Sciences, 1976
  • M.S., Washington State University, Agronomy and Soil Sciences, 1979
  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Forestry, 1993

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Sciences, Washington State University
  • Air & Waste Management Association

Awards and Recognitions

  • R & D 100 Award for Electro-Optic Liquid Sensor 1991
  • Federal Laboratory Consortion 1992 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer
  • Hugo Winkenwerder Memorial Fellowship, College Forestry, University of Washington, 1988

PNNL Publications


  • Rishel JP, ME Keillor, LM Arrigo, JE Baciak, JR, RS Detwiler, WJ Kernan, RR Kirkham, BD Milbrath, A Seifert, CE Seifert, and JE Smart. 2016. "Using Atmospheric Dispersion Theory to Inform the Design of a Short-lived Radioactive Particle Release Experiment." Health Physics 110(5):526-532.  doi:10.1097/HP.0000000000000475
  • Keillor ME, LM Arrigo, JE Baciak, JR, VD Chipman, RS Detwiler, D Emer, WJ Kernan, RR Kirkham, MR MacDougall, BD Milbrath, JP Rishel, A Seifert, CE Seifert, and JE Smart. 2016. "PREX: AN EXPERIMENT TO INVESTIGATE DETECTION OF NEAR-FIELD PARTICULATE DEPOSITION FROM A SIMULATED UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR WEAPONS TEST VENT." Health Physics Society Newsletter 110(5):533-547.  doi:10.1097/HP.0000000000000506
  • Okada CE, WJ Kernan, ME Keillor, RR Kirkham, RD Sorom, and DM Van Etten. 2016. "Measuring Concentrations of Particulate 140La in the Air." Health Physics 110(5):418-426.  doi:10.1097/HP.0000000000000478
  • Olsen KB, RR Kirkham, VT Woods, DA Haas, JC Hayes, TW Bowyer, DP Mendoza, JD Lowrey, CD Lukins, R Suarez, PH Humble, MD Ellefson, MD Ripplinger, L Zhong, AV Mitroshkov, CE Aalseth, AM Prinke, EK Mace, JI McIntyre, TL Stewart, RD Mackley, BD Milbrath, D Emer, and S Biegalski. 2016. "Noble Gas Migration Experiment to Support the Detection of Underground Nuclear Explosions." Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 307(3):2603-2610.  doi:10.1007/s10967-015-4639-7


  • Keillor ME, LM Arrigo, RS Detwiler, WJ Kernan, RR Kirkham, MR MacDougall, VD Chipman, BD Milbrath, JP Rishel, A Seifert, CE Seifert, JE Smart, and D Emer. 2014. Particle Release Experiment (PRex) Final ReportPNNL-23997, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Hayes JC, TW Bowyer, EA Cordova, RR Kirkham, AC Misner, KB Olsen, VT Woods, and D Emer. 2013. "Underground Sources of Radioactive Noble Gas." Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 296(2):869-876.  doi:10.1007/s10967-012-2214-z
  • Miley HS, TW Bowyer, MD Engelmann, PW Eslinger, JI Friese, LR Greenwood, DA Haas, JC Hayes, ME Keillor, RA Kiddy, II, RR Kirkham, JW Landen, EA Lepel, LS Lidey, KE Litke, SJ Morris, KB Olsen, RC Thompson, BR Valenzuela, VT Woods, and SR Biegalski. 2013. "Measurement of Fukushima Aerosol Debris in Sequim and Richland, WA and Ketchikan, AK." Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 296(2):877-882.  doi:10.1007/s10967-012-2231-y



  • Forrester JB, TW Bowyer, F Carty, L Comes, PW Eslinger, LR Greenwood, DA Haas, JC Hayes, RR Kirkham, EA Lepel, KE Litke, HS Miley, SJ Morris, BT Schrom, P Van Davelaar, and VT Woods. 2011. "LESSONS LEARNED IN AEROSOL MONITORING WITH THE RASA." In Proceedings of the 2011 Monitoring Research Review: Ground-Based Nuclear Explosion Monitoring Technologies, September 13-15, 2011, Tucson, Arizona, vol. 2, no. LA-UR-11-04823, p. 681-688.  National Nuclear Security Administration, Washington DC. 




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