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Lea Davidson receives the Farouk El-Baz Student Desert Research Award


Geology PhD Candidate Lea Davidson has received the Farouk El-Baz Award from Geological Society of America for her research on transmission loss estimates for aquifer recharge in arid environments. Lea is conducting fieldwork with her advisor, Dr. Adam Milewski in the in the Water Resources and Remote Sensing Laboratory at UGA.


"Improving Transmission Loss Estimates for Aquifer Recharge: Analysis of Post-flood Sediment Drying in Intermittent River Channels"


Intermittent channels are a natural component of various climate regimes, with more than half of the global stream network experiencing periods of flow cessation or discontinuity on an annual basis. In arid zones, precipitation driven ephemeral channels are the dominant hydrologic feature and primary source of aquifer recharge. Antecedent sediment moisture is crucial for deep infiltration; reduction in the frequency or altered seasonality of surface flow has direct implications for sediment moisture and potential for reduced aquifer recharge.

This research works to understand the relationship between hydrologic and physical variables to post-flow sediment moisture. Specifically, it focuses on sediment drying and return to pre-flood moisture conditions following flood events within an ephemeral channel in central Morocco. This work is further concerned with quantifying the rate of this drying process, as well as its spatial heterogeneity through a combination of in situ temperature probes and remote sensing.

The response of post-flood sediment moisture is critical not only for accurate estimates of groundwater recharge and storage, but sustainable water management. Arid communities operate with limited water resources and are particularly vulnerable to shifting climate. Improved understanding of the hydrologic processes connected to water scarcity are essential for the development of resilient systems in a climate uncertain future. 

The Farouk El-Baz Student Desert Research Award was created after The Farouk El-Baz Desert Research Award, which was established in 1999 by the GSA Foundation as a Division award administered by Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology.

Congratulations, Lea!


Two UGA doctoral students win international Geology Award | Franklin College of Arts and Sciences


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