An on-campus well field for hydrogeophysics education and undergraduate research

Journal of Geoscience Education
By: , and 



The emerging subdiscipline of hydrogeophysics is underdeveloped in undergraduate curricula relative to its importance in professional engineering/environmental practice. In 2001, the Bucknell Department of Geology initiated efforts to refocus an undergraduate geophysics course on near-surface geophysical methods for hydrologic, environmental, and engineering problems. In addition to offering students practical experience, treatment of hydrogeophysics provides important pedagogical opportunities. Field-based hydrogeophysics labs challenge students to integrate concepts from other geology courses, as well as from physics, math, and chemistry.

We faced two challenges in revising our geophysics course: (1) access to wells for field exercises on borehole geophysics; and (2) the costs of acquiring and maintaining equipment. We pursued two strategies to solve these problems. First, we established an on-campus well field, which serves as a field laboratory for downhole and cross-hole experiments. Second, we incorporated field demonstrations and lectures by professional geoscientists, including alumni, into our courses. By adding field exercises to our syllabi and promoting undergraduate research, we are building a cutting-edge dataset that includes televiewer and standard wellbore logging, cross-hole tomography, and hydraulic-test data. Student-led analysis of these data has already provided valuable insights into the control of fractures on aquifer properties, and these observations are being combined with outcrop studies to place our results in a more regional context.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An on-campus well field for hydrogeophysics education and undergraduate research
Series title Journal of Geoscience Education
DOI 10.5408/1089-9995-54.4.480
Volume 54
Issue 4
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Office of Ground Water
Description 7 p.
First page 480
Last page 486
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
City Lewisburg
Other Geospatial Bucknell University
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details