Dr. Mike O’Driscoll, Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences


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Dr. Mike O’Driscoll, Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences

  • Dr. Mike O’Driscoll, Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences

  • Mr. Shawn Thieme, Graduate Assistant, Geological Sciences

  • Ms. Megan Ganak, Graduate Assistant, Geological Sciences


It is essential for all life on this planet.

  • It is essential for all life on this planet.

  • The human body consists of about 75% water

  • We drink and use water everyday.

  • We can survive 50-60 days without food, but only 2-3 days without water.



is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water throughout the Earth.

  • is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water throughout the Earth.

  • Why would someone want to become a hydrologist?

  • to helps us to better understand our water supplies and provides insight for environmental engineering, policy and planning.











Why study infiltration?

  • Why study infiltration?

    • If water does not infiltrate it usually drains quickly to rivers.
    • Rapid runoff to rivers can increase the likelihood of flooding.


When rainfall rate>infiltration capacity

  • When rainfall rate>infiltration capacity

  • Surface runoff or ponding occurs (overland flow)





Greatest infiltration rates

  • Greatest infiltration rates

    • Organic litter at surface
    • Root cavities
    • Burrowing animals
    • Earthworms
  • Overland flow and flooding is least likely





Expansion of impervious surfaces.

  • Expansion of impervious surfaces.

  • Runoff conveyed to channel by stormwater drains.

  • More flooding.









  • This is a serious problem in eastern North Carolina because of the tropical rainstorms in the fall

  • (hurricanes and tropical storms).

  • Tropical storms may deliver several inches of rain in an hour! If that water can’t sink into the ground we experience flooding.









We’ll start today, looking at how humans have altered the hydrology in Greenville area, right on ECU campus.

  • We’ll start today, looking at how humans have altered the hydrology in Greenville area, right on ECU campus.



How has infiltration changed on ECU campus?

  • How has infiltration changed on ECU campus?

    • The rate at which water enters the soil surface
  • To test we will compare infiltration in forest areas and campus sites where vegetation has been removed.

  • Hypothesis: When humans remove trees and plants and compact the land surface, less water can sink into the ground.





solid earth material that has been altered by physical, chemical and biological processes such that it can support rooted plant life

  • solid earth material that has been altered by physical, chemical and biological processes such that it can support rooted plant life



Relative proportions of sand, silt or clay

  • Relative proportions of sand, silt or clay

    • Sand (0.063-2 mm)
    • Silt (0.004 to 0.063 mm)
    • Clay (<0.004mm)








Urban development can increase flood risk because less water flows into the ground and more water flows quickly to rivers

  • Urban development can increase flood risk because less water flows into the ground and more water flows quickly to rivers





Be respectful to instructors and your classmates.

  • Be respectful to instructors and your classmates.

  • Follow directions from the instructors.

  • Raise your hand when you have a question.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask a question.

  • Learn as much as you can.

  • Have fun!









Disturbed campus soils

  • Disturbed campus soils

  • Infitration rate = 3.4 mm/min

  • Soil compaction =852 psi



Soil compaction and vegetation removal can affect hydrology by…

  • Soil compaction and vegetation removal can affect hydrology by…

  • Reducing the amount of rain water that can sink into the ground.

  • These changes can make urban areas more flood-prone.

  • There are tools available to check where the floodplains are in urban areas.

  • And finally…..

  • Hydrology is fun!!!!








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