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Our research group studies fundamental and applied hydrologic flow and transport processes. We pursue basic knowledge and the development of solutions to environmental and societal water issues. We are particularly motivated by problems that cross disciplinary boundaries which require drawing ideas and techniques from different fields. In our studies, we apply various approaches including conventional hydrologic and water quality monitoring, geophysical surveys, remote-sensing, analogue experiments, and mathematical modeling including theoretical methods and computational simulations.

Examples of recent research topics include: groundwater-surface water interactions and associated nutrient transport and transformation, coastal hydrogeology and submarine groundwater discharge, ecohydrology of semi-arid ecotones, pore scale flow and transport phenomena, flow and transport in fractures, energy balance of aquatic systems, hydrogeology of springs, and hydrogeologic processes in cold regions.

If you are passionate about water and the environment, independent, hard-working, possess a 'can do' attitude, and have a strong interest in addressing fundamental problems with direct applications to relevant issues, you will fit in well in our group. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in joining or collaborating with our group.

For more information, you can browse through the related webpage tabs here and please visit: http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/cardenas/

Areas of Expertise

Hydrology and Hydrogeology


Current Research Programs & Projects

Hydrogeology, Surface Water Hydrology, Fluvial Processes, Applied Hydrogeophysics, Transport Processes


Faculty Science Performance Award - University of Texas Department of Geological Sciences (2015)

Faculty Science Performance Award - University of Texas Department of Geological Sciences (2013)

Fred Holmsley Moore Distinguished Lecturer - University of Virginia (2012)

GSA Kohout Early Career Award - Geological Society of America Hydrogeology Division (2012)

Editor Citation for Excellence in Refereeing (Geophysical Research Letters) - American Geophysical Union (2011)

Editor Citation for Excellence in Refereeing (Water Resources Research) - American Geophysical Union (2011)

AGU Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award - American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section (2011)

NSF CAREER Award - National Science Foundation (2010)

G. Moses and Carolyn G. Knebel Distinguished Teaching Award - University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences (2010)

Top Referee Award (Journal of Hydrology) - Elsevier (2009)

Big XII Faculty Fellowship - Big XII (2009)

Balik Scientist - Department of Science and Technology, Philippines (2008)

G. Moses and Carolyn G. Knebel Distinguished Teaching Award - University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences (2007)

AGU Horton Research Grant - American Geophysical Union (2004)

AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award (Hydrology Section) - American Geophysical Union (2004)

CH2M-Hill Outstanding Hydrology Teaching Assistant - New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (2003)

Frank M. Kottlowski Fellowship - New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (2002 - 2006)

Yatkola-Edwards Research Grant - University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2001)

AAPG Paul Danheim Nelson Award - American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2001)

Arthur Saldivar-Sali Award - University of the Philippines-Diliman (1999)

Outstanding BS Geology Graduate - University of the Philippines-Diliman (1999)

Member, Kohout Early Career Award Committee, Geological Society of America Hydrogeology Division (2013)

Editor, Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union (2013)

Member, Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award Committee, American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section (2012)

Associate Editor, Water Resources Research, American Geophysical Union (2010 - 2013)

Associate Editor, Reviews of Geophysics, American Geophysical Union (2010)

Member, Groundwater Technical Committee, American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section (2010)

Member, O. E. Meinzer Award Committee, Geological Society of America Hydrogeology Division (2010)

Associate Editor, Hydrogeology Journal, International Association of Hydrogeologists (2009 - 2012)

Manuscript Reviewer, > 30 different journals, Various publishers and societies

Proposal Reviewer and Panelist, US NSF, DOE, USGS, Swiss NSF, Israel NSF, universities, organizations, foreign agencies,

Graduate Students

Michael T O'connor, Ph.D., expected 2018 (Supervisor)
I am most interested in the hydrologic and biogeochemical processes occurring at and near the surface of the Earth. I use field and laboratory techniques as well as numerical modeling to understand and represent these complex systems. My current research focuses on the variably saturated flow and nutrient transport dynamics of Arctic permafrost systems. I hope to use this work to help describe the mechanisms for terrestrial Arctic carbon export. I am also very interested in the intersection between water science and policy, especially in Texas, and am a co-author for the blog "Texas Water Policy" (here). In my spare time, you could find me swimming, climbing, or playing keyboard.

Matthew Kaufman, Ph.D., expected 2018 (Supervisor)
Matt studies fundamental questions about the physical, chemical, and biological processes which work together to control all aspects of groundwater and surface water. In particular, he is interested in the the dynamic processes present at the interfaces between groundwater and surface water.

Lizhi Zheng, Ph.D., expected 2017 (Supervisor)

Kevin M Befus, Ph.D., expected 2015 (Supervisor)
Kevin is studying hydrology for two reasons: its demand scientifically and its relevance globally. Kevin uses a combination of fieldwork and numerical modelling studies to explore groundwater quantity and quality at various scales. Currently, Kevin is investigating groundwater residence times in aquifers from process-based and sustainability-oriented perspectives. Kevin has studied coastal groundwater-surface water interactions both in lake and beach settings. His previous research includes studying the effects of glacial isostasy on paleo-lake hydrology and applying geophysical techniques to constrain weathering properties of the shallow subsurface.

Lichun Wang, Ph.D., expected 2015 (Supervisor)
Fluid flow, solute transport and reactive transport through fractures

Peter B Zamora, Ph.D., expected 2015 (Supervisor)

Raquel H Flinker, M.S., expected 2014 (Supervisor)

Eric J Guiltinan (Supervisor)

Jeffery A Watson (Supervisor)

Colin J McNeece (Committee Member)


Undergraduate Students

Aimee Ford


Water cycling across aquatic interfaces, and why they matter from the pore scale to the continental scale, University of Michigan, (2015)

The residence times of surface water-groundwater exchange from 10^-3 to 10^3 m and why long tails matter, European Geosciences Union, Vienna (2014)

Pore-scale controls on the trapping of supercritical CO2 in reservoirs, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2013)

Groundwater inputs into the coastal ocean: large-scale patterns, local dynamics, and implications on material and energy budgets, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2013)

River-groundwater interactions: local processes with global consequences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, (2013)

Terrestrial smokers: thermal springs due to hydrothermal convection of groundwater connected to surface water, University of Wisconsin-Madison, (2013)

The old and the new: the use of classical regional groundwater flow models to address problems of the future, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (2013)

Coupled processes along the surface water-groundwater interface: advances from modeling and measurements, Oregon State University, (2013)

How the pulse of a river affects its liver, Portland State University and USGS, (2013)

How the pulse of a river affects its liver, Texas Riparian Association, (2012)

Applications of electrical resistivity imaging for characterizing groundwater-surface water interactions from local to regional scales, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, (2012)

Groundwater inputs into the coastal ocean: large-scale patterns, local dynamics, and implications on material and energy budgets, University of Texas - Marine Science Institute, (2012)

How can a limestone outcrop warm up a very cold river?, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2012)

Discovery and analysis of terrestrial smokers in Taal Volcano, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2012)

Geophysical imaging of ground water-surface water interactions in rivers, lakes and the coastal ocean, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2012)

Coastal sediment as bio-geo-reactors powered by waves, University of Virginia, (2012)

Coupled processes along the surface water-groundwater interface: advances from modeling and measurements, University of Virginia, (2012)

How the pulse of a river affects its liver, University of Virginia, (2012)

Coastal sediment as bio-geo-reactors powered by waves, Texas A&M University, (2011)

River-aquifer connectivity as a restoration target: what, why and how, EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, (2011)

The surface water-groundwater continuum: hydraulics, biogeochemistry and geophysics, University of California-Berkeley, (2011)

Effects of dams on groundwater-surface water interactions, University of Texas-San Antonio, (2010)

Time-averaged versus transient forcing by waves of porewater circulation and transport in permeable sediment, Joint Ocean Sciences Meeting by American Geophysical Union, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanographic Society, Portland, Oregon (2010)

The effects of river dynamics on river-aquifer interactions, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Philippines (2010)

Fluid dynamic interactions near sediment-water interfaces in aquatic and coastal environments, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Santa Fe, New Mexico (2010)

Constraining denitrification in permeable coastal sediment using linked biogeochemical and hydrodynamic models, Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany (2009)

Towards the 'hyporheic meter'-predicting hyporheic exchange from bedforms to bars to bends, European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria. (2009)

Effects of inertia and directionality on flow and transport in a rough asymmetric fracture, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California (2009)

The familiar as a frontier: persistent transient stream-groundwater interactions, Geological Society of America Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon (2009)

Coastal sediment as bio-geo-reactors powered by waves, University of Texas-Arlington, University of Texas-Arlington (2009)

Power-law scaling of residence times: the geomorphological signature of ground water-surface water connection at nested scales, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2008)

Constraining denitrification in permeable coastal sediment using linked biogeochemical and hydrodynamic models, University of the Philippines-Diliman, (2008)

Ground water-surface water connection at nested scales, National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (2008)

Understanding processes in streambeds with reductive models and high-resolution data, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California (2007)

Power-law scaling of residence times: the geomorphological signature of ground water-surface water connection at nested scales, Geological Society of America Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado (2007)

Exchange across the surface water-ground water interface from bedforms to bends to basins, Hyporheic Zone Network Workshop Keynote Lecture, University of Sheffield, UK (2007)

Complex surface water-ground water interactions revealed, University of Texas at Austin, Institute of Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Geological Sciences (2007)

Understanding surface water-ground water interactions from bedforms to basin using high-fidelity models, University of Nevada-Reno, (2007)

Dynamics of fluids, solutes, and heat along sediment-water interfaces: a multiphysics modeling study, Gordon Research Conference on Permeable Sediments Plenary Lecture, Colby College, Maine (2006)

Multiphysics modeling of processes along sediment-water interfaces: towards fundamental understanding and mechanistic predictions, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California (2006)

Flumes, finite-elements, field observations, Fourier-series and fractals: fundamental linkages in hyporheic zone research, Geological Society of America Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2006)

Crossing boundaries: The ground water-surface water interface, University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Geological Sciences (2006)

Crossing boundaries: The ground water-surface water interface, University of Virginia, (2006)

Crossing boundaries: The ground water-surface water interface, University of Wyoming, (2006)

Crossing boundaries: The ground water-surface water interface, University of Pittsburgh, (2006)

Crossing boundaries: The ground water-surface water interface, Georgia State University, (2006)

YearSemesterCourse
2015Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology
2014Fall GEO 376S/GEO 382S Physical Hydrology
2014Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology
2014Summer GEO F376L/GEO F382C Groundwater Field Methods
2014Spring GEO 382G Fluid Physics For Geologists
2014Spring GEO 371C/GEO 391 Intro Math Modeling Geosci
2014Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology
2013Fall GEO 376S/GEO 382S Physical Hydrology
2013Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology
2013Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology
2012Fall GEO 382S Physical Hydrology
2012Fall GEO 376S Physical Hydrology
2012Fall GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology
2012Summer GEO F376L/GEO F382C Groundwater Field Methods
2012Spring GEO 382G Fluid Physics For Geologists
2012Spring GEO 394 Rsch In Physical Hydrology