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A cross-divisional department spanning

Research Areas

Geomorphology, Geochemistry, and Hydrology


Physical processes, along with chemical and biological phenomena linked to them, shape the landforms we live in, and the dynamic interactions between air, water, soil, and sediments. Our goal is to better understand how human activities are altering the processes operating on the earth's surface and subsurface, and provide the basis for predicting how the world at large impacts human and ecosystem health. Current research areas include:

  • Runoff generation and transit times in catchments
  • Weathering and flow paths in the critical zone
  • Controls on catchment water balance
  • Salt lake dynamics
  • Stream-hyporheic zone exchange

Research Highlight

What did the Chesapeake Bay watershed look like before centuries of human activity and development? According to paleoecological and historical evidence, the pre-colonial land was much wetter then today, with numerous marshes, swamps, and ponds. Since European colonization, humans have cut down trees, drained wetlands, and filled marshes to make way for agricultural lands. What does the future hold for the largest estuary in the United States? These are questions yet to be answered by the next generation of environmental engineers.

Associated Faculty

Bill Ball, PhD

Ball has research interests and on-going projects in various areas of environmental engineering, with emphasis on physical and chemical processes affecting water quality, in both natural environments and engineered processes of treatment. One current major interest is on the development and application of appropriate and sustainable technologies for developing nations, with focus on water resources, drinking water, and sanitation.


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Ciaran Harman, PhD*

Harman's research group studies water flow and transport from soil to hillslope to watershed scales. Their work combines theory development, field work,
 experimental studies, and numerical modeling. The work is organized around two broad themes:

  • flow and transport in the landscape
  • structure and evolution of the critical zone


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Scot Miller, PhD

Scot studies greenhouse gases and air pollution. Effective climate and air quality regulations depend upon reliable emissions estimates. Scot works to improve these estimates from local to global scales. His existing projects focus on global change in the Arctic, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and emissions from energy industries (e.g., coal, oil, and natural gas). Scot’s research also utilizes statistics, high performance computing, and tools for big data.


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Carsten Prasse, PhD

Carsten’s investigates the fate of contaminants in the built and natural environment using state-of-the-art analytical chemistry techniques (e.g. high-resolution mass spectrometry) with the focus on identifying transformation products and understanding underlying mechanisms of transformation in the urban water cycle.


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Alan Stone, PhD

Stone explores natural biogeochemical phenomena and properties/transformations of synthetic chemicals in environmental media using the foundations of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, and the nanosciences. His geochemical investigations are focused on biochemicals released by plants, bacteria, and fungi into surrounding environmental media.



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*Denotes faculty who are accepting PhD students.