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Darcy Distinguished Lecture Sept. 2

August 25, 2009

The 2009 Darcy Lecture Series begins this year with a lecture by Peter Cook, a research scientist with CSRIO, a national government body for scientific research in Australia. Cook will talk about the use of environmental tracers in predicting ground water flow rates.

Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m.
Lory Student Center, Room 230 

On Wednesday, Sept. 2, the Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering is hosting the 2009 Darcy Lecture Series.

The lecture is sponsored by the National Ground Water Association and this year is delivered by Peter Cook, Ph.D., a senior principal research scientist with CSIRO Land and Water, Australia.

The title of the lecture is "Environmental Tracers in Modern Hydrogeology." 

About Peter Cook

The 2009 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer Peter Cook, Ph.D., is a senior principal research scientist with CSIRO Land and Water. He received a B.A. in geography from Australian National University in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Earth sciences from Flinders University of South Australia in 1992.

Between 1992 and 1994, Cook carried out postdoctoral research at the U.S. Department of Energy and University of Waterloo, Canada, before returning to Australia.

Cook’s research interests span the fields of ground water hydrology, ecohydrology, isotope hydrology, and unsaturated zone flow, but have mostly focused on the use of environmental tracers, including the integration of tracer and hydraulic methods.

Methods for predicting ground water flow rates underused

Groundwater flow rates are most frequently determined as the product of measured hydraulic gradients and hydraulic conductivities, the latter determined using aquifer tests. However, estimation of aquifer hydraulic conductivity remains a significant source of uncertainty, particularly in heterogeneous environments. Within the past few decades, environmental tracer methods have been developed which can provide independent estimates of groundwater flow rates.

(At right: Peter Cook, Ph.D.)

Cook's lecture concerns environmental tracer methods for determining, for example, how fast ground water will discharge to surface water in streams, wetlands, and the ocean or how quickly unconfined aquifers will recharge. 

Environmental tracers such as gas tracers (helium and radon) can significantly reduce uncertainties in prediction. Cook explains that these methods are still not widely used for hydrogeological assessment. 

The Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Ground Water Science

The lecture series honors Henry Darcy of France for his scientific discoveries of 1856. Darcy's investigations established the physical basis upon which groundwater hydrogeology has been studied ever since.

The lecture series was established in 1986 to foster interest and excellence in groundwater science and technology. 

The NGWA - a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 14,000 U.S. and international ground water professionals and scientists - is dedicated to advancing the expertise of all ground water professionals and to furthering ground water awareness and protection through education and outreach.

NGWA's vision is to be the leading community of ground water professionals that promotes the responsible development, use, and management of ground water resources.

Contact: Domenico Bau
Phone: (970) 491-6060