Remediation to Research: Training Future Hydrogeologists--A Repurposed Geoprobe to Assess an Alluvial Aquifer
Monday, December 3, 2018: 3:20 p.m.
N109 (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Baylor University purchased a used Geoprobe drill rig from a consulting firm in Chicago that was used to assess leaking underground storage tank sites. The Geoprobe was repurposed to support education and academic research by providing a variety of subsurface data. This presentation is about our academic Geoprobe use learnings to supplement our teaching and research in the Brazos River Alluvium aquifer. Our Geoprobe learnings are in two broad areas: 1) geologic education and 2) equipment ownership. The education learnings are related geologic data gathering such as aquifer sediment coring, installing monitor wells, and obtaining discrete vertical groundwater chemistry data. This geologic data collection is the foundation of our education and research activities. Having control of equipment use, transport, and timing are the keys to effective geologic data gathering in a busy academic schedule. Also, students and faculty gain Geoprobe field experience and education from laboratory exercises and graduate students obtain data for their research. The classroom education is supplemented by Geoprobe field exercises such as: sediment description and monitor well installation. Hence the Geoprobe usage leads to training the next generation of hydrogeologists. The Geoprobe alluvial research is conducted by MS and PhD students and overseen by faculty includes: a) Areal extent of aquifer compartments, b) Specific conductance to understand salinity variability, and c) Aquifer dissolved carbon, isotopes and groundwater dating to define groundwater pathways. Finally there are the opportunities and challenges of being the Geoprobe owner and operator responsible for operations, repairs, maintenance, upgrading and transporting equipment to the field. The opportunities include availability and flexibility in scheduling field work. The challenges are skills needed to operate heavy equipment, balancing use between faculty and students, safety risks, and mechanical skills to maintain and repair the Geoprobe.