USGS finds data fraud, closes environmental chemistry lab

Watts Up With That?

Misconduct has led to delays and 1 retraction in environmental quality measurements reports

By Jessica Morrison (E&CN)

Alleged misconduct and data manipulation at a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) laboratory may have affected thousands of environmental quality measurements processed between 2008 and 2014, according to the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

As many as 24 research projects, representing some $108 million in funding for the laboratory, may have been impacted, OIG said earlier this month. “At least seven reports have been delayed, and to date, one report has been retracted.”

The misconduct, which was discovered by USGS management in 2014, involves analyses performed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry by the Inorganic Section of the USGS Energy Geochemistry Laboratory in Lakewood, Colo.

“Some data were manipulated both to correct for calibration failures and to improve results of standard reference materials and unknowns” and raw data were not retained, USGS…

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