Environmental Geology/Hydrogeology


The Boone Pickens School of Geology has a long history of training hydrogeologists.  Since the department began, hydrogeologists have been on staff.  During the 1980’s crash of the petroleum market, the department retrained approximately 1300 petroleum geologists as hydrogeologists.
The current program is a strong field based program training students in hydrological, geochemical, and geophysical measurements used to elucidate subsurface flow in a range of environments.  Our equipment includes field geophysics (largely electrical techniques), geochemical (wide range of analyses), and hydrological (including our own Geoprobe sampling rig), as well as high temperature and high pressure experimental setups to analyze multiphase reactive transport processes in fractured and porous media at deep geological formation conditions.  The program also includes a commercial entity that utilizes OSU research for hydrogeophysical investigations (Aestus, LLC.).
Research in the environmental/hydrogeology group at Oklahoma State includes flow through fractured and karstic media, the use of isotopes as tracers of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen in the hydrologic cycle, and evaluation of contaminated sites including oil spills, and reactive transport modeling of hydrologic systems. We have ongoing projects investigating research questions in the Okavango Delta, Africa, the Great Artesian Basin, Australia, the Sete Lagoas aquifer, Brazil, and the Tigris-Euphrates river system, Iraq.  Hydrologic modeling in the Arbuckle-Simpson and Garber-Wellington aquifers in Oklahoma is being investigated to evaluate anthropogenic changes to the water budget.  Evaluation of the Arbuckle aquifer extends to examining induce seismicity as well. Biogeophysical research is ongoing to develop new methods of characterizing oil, heavy metals, radionuclides impacted sites. Lab scale batch and core-flooding experiments are being conducted at deep geological formation conditions to unveil the hydrological and bio-geochemical factors that control the upward migration and transformation of organic and inorganic contaminants from hydraulically fractured Woodford shale gas reservoirs and Class II disposal wells in the Arbuckle formation. A novel environmentally friendly method is being developed to biogenically recycle carbon dioxide to methane gas and at the same time enhance the recovery of oil by stimulating microbial methanogenesis. To this aim, we are using the Cushing oilfield as a model system. Finally reactive transport models are being developed to simulate the fate and transport of contaminants as well as anthropogenic carbon dioxide in a wide variety of biologically active systems including shallow and deep aquifer systems as well as oil and gas reservoirs.

Faculty contacts include:
Eliot Atekwana
Estella Atekwana
Todd Halihan
Javier Vilcaez