Geophysical characterization of a karst aquifer using dynamic recharge events (NSF Hydrologic Sciences)

We have openings for two PhD (or exceptional MS) students at New Mexico Tech to monitor geophysical responses to recharge events in a karst aquifer. The study will employ fieldwork in the Santa Fe River Sink-Rise system in north-central Florida. Geophysical responses to recharge events will be monitored using seismometers, tiltmeters, and GPS instruments and interpreted alongside hydrologic and meteorological data to facilitate aquifer characterization and regionally integrated flow monitoring. Implications range from the development of karst hazards maps, illustrating areas susceptible to sinkhole formation, to subsurface flow monitoring, aiding water supply management. In addition, the students will assist in the development of an interactive traveling exhibit that will be displayed in visitor centers in Florida and New Mexico. The project provides an excellent opportunity to develop a valuable set of interdisciplinary skills. The students will be supervised by Andrew Luhmann (, Susan Bilek (NM Tech Professor of Geophysics,, and Ronni Grapenthin (NM Tech Assistant Professor of Geophysics,, while also collaborating with Jonathan Martin (Professor, University of Florida Department of Geological Sciences) and an undergraduate student at the University of Florida. Fieldwork will ideally begin in May 2018. Click here for the project abstract for more information.

Recharge experiment that demonstrated that recharge events generate seismic signals in karst aquifers. Video by Emily Morton.

River Rise, FL
The project will be conducted at the Santa Fe River Sink-Rise system in north-central Florida. River Rise photo from
Seismometers (shown as red triangles), tiltmeters (shown as black hollow circles), and GPS stations will be deployed around the Santa Fe River Sink-Rise system to monitor geophysical responses as water levels rise and fall with recharge events. In addition, instruments will be deployed to collect hydrologic and meteorological data. Figure modified from Moore et al. (2009).


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