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Jean M. Bahr

Ph.D. 1987, Stanford University

phone: (608) 262-5513



The interactions between physical and chemical processes that control mass transport in groundwater are of particular interest to me. My students and I employ a combination of field monitoring and tracer studies through which we can observe the effects of these transport processes in real time, core and outcrop studies that provide data on hydrologic and geochemical properties of aquifer materials, and numerical modeling with which we can test our hypotheses about how groundwater transport systems operate. We apply these techniques to problems ranging from contamination and restoration of shallow aquifers to paleohydrology related to the distribution of energy and mineral resources.

We are currently conducting studies of nitrate and BTEX transport in a fuel contaminated aquifer at Fort McCoy, WI, to evaluate intrinsic and enhanced biodegradation under denitrifying and sulfate reducing conditions. This work is in collaboration with Bill Hickey of the UW Soil Science Department. Another current project, in collaboration with Ken Potter of the UW Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, involves groundwater-surface water interactions in a watershed near Madison that is experiencing rapid urban and suburban development.

In addition to modeling associated with interpretation of these relatively local scale field studies, I have been involved in attempts to simulate hydrology at a more regional scale. These have included a study of anomalous pressures in the deep Michigan basin, a project investigating paleoflow and transport in the fractured carbonate rocks of the Upper Mississippi Valley zinc-lead district, and simulations of coupled heat and fluid flow through the Bahama Bank. In 1996 I participated in Leg 169 of the Ocean Drilling Program which investigated areas of active and fossil hydrothermal vents in the Pacific.


I teach a variety of courses including Hydrogeology, Contaminant Hydrogeology, Field Applications in Hydrogeology, and Environmental Geology.


In addition to my appointment in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, I am also a faculty member in the Institute for Environmental Studies where I chair the Water Resources Management graduate program. I also am a member of the Geological Engineering Program faculty and advise undergraduates in that program.

As a member of the National Research Council's Board on Radioactive Waste Management from 1992-1997 I was involved in reviews of the regulatory standards for high level waste disposal. I am an Associate Editor of Water Resources Research , the Book Review editor for Ground Water , and a member of the editorial board of Geotimes.


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Last modified: August 31, 1998.