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35 East 12th Street, Holland, MI 49423-3605
Geophysics for Environmental Studies: The use of non-destructive approaches for studying soil and groundwater systems
Dr. Kennedy Doro, Assistant Professor at The University of Toledo, Toledo OH
The Earth’s shallow subsurface hosts most of the surface water, soil, groundwater, minerals, and rocks we use daily. We also rely on the Earth’s shallow subsurface for agriculture, engineering infrastructure, and energy use, but it is constantly affected by serious natural and human-induced hazards like floods, landslides, and pollution from the release of chemicals. In recent decades, environmental scientists, including ecologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, and biogeochemists, as well as engineers, archeologists, and anthropologists, have been engaged in studying variations in properties and processes within the earth’s shallow subsurface to ensure its sustainable use and management. However, these studies rely on measurements from soil cores, excavations, and in situ soil sensors which are destructive, expensive, and limited to a particular point and can not be easily used to estimate changes in properties and processes at large field scales. Near-Surface geophysical methods, including electrical resistivity (ER), electromagnetic induction (EMI), and ground penetrating radar (GPR) offer approaches to measure variation in subsurface physical properties at a large spatial and temporal scale which can be related to soil physical and biochemical properties and processes. Hence, my research investigates hydrological and biogeochemical states and processes within the earth’s shallow subsurface using geophysics. In this presentation, I show the use of multiple geophysical methods for  estimating soil and groundwater reservoirs’ physiochemical properties and stratigraphy,  monitoring hydrological and biogeochemical processes, and  informing archeological and forensic searches for cultural remains, clandestine graves, and firearms. Besides applying geophysical methods to inform hydro-biogeochemical processes at a high spatiotemporal resolution, I also show gaps in current electrical geophysical models and explore options to address them to improve the application of geophysics to address environmental challenges.
Kennedy Doro received his Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Tuebingen, Germany, in 2015 and has since then acquired both industry and academic experience. He is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, where he leads the Hydro- and Environmental Geophysics research group (UToledo HEG-Lab). Prior to his current position, he served as a sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto, ON, Canada, a visiting researcher at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a Direct Sensing Specialist and Field Engineer with Fugro Germany GmbH, Moessingen, Germany. He was also a Volkswagen Foundation Junior Postdoctoral Fellow from 2015-2016. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Applied Environmental Geosciences from the University of Tuebingen, Germany, and a B.Sc. degree in Geology from Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. His research interests include advancing our understanding of soil and aquifer properties’ variation and the hydrological and biogeochemical processes within them using geophysical methods. He is also interested in advancing the use of geophysics for supporting forensic investigations, including locating clandestine graves, buried weapons, and wastes.
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