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Research at one of the Hydrogeology field sites.

Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has several very active research and teaching programs in the area of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology. This research group includes five faculty members, approximately 15 graduate students. In addition, our researchers and students regularly work with collaborators at the UT Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, UT Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a variety of other institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Major research areas include:

Hydrogeology and Soil Hydrology – Drs. Larry McKay, Edmund Perfect and John McCarthy investigate water movement and fate/transport of contaminants in a variety of hydrologic settings, including unsaturated soils, fractured clay-rich sediments, karst and streams. Their recent research includes investigations of pathogens and fecal indicator bacteria in aquifers and streams, as well as pore-scale studies of water retention and studies of the fractal nature of hydrologic parameters in the subsurface.

Near-surface and Environmental Geophysics – Dr. Greg Baker is a leading researcher in the geophysical properties of the shallow subsurface. He uses a variety of geophysical methods, such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) to investigate topics such as contaminant distribution and the stratigraphy of sub-glacial sediments.


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Contact Information

Dr. Larry McKay
Jones Professor of Hydrogeology
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-1410

Phone: (865) 974-5498
Fax: (865) 974-2368
Email: lmckay@utk.edu