It was not long before Garven's "outdoor laboratory" yielded an unexpected discovery. While drilling into an area on Tufts' campus known as "The Quad," Garven tapped an aquifer 50 feet below the surface.
In the specialized discipline of hydrogeology this was a noteworthy find, particularly since engineers had long ago ruled out the possibility of an underground water source. In 1861, the city of Charlestown, Mass., was so convinced of this that it built a reservoir on the site and filled it with water pumped from the Mystic Lakes as an emergency water supply.
Garven, who came to Tufts' geology department in 2007 after teaching for 25 years at Johns Hopkins University, says the aquifer is just the type of discovery that will enhance his students' understanding of hydrogeology – which is the study of how water moves underground through soil and bedrock.
Most of Garven's students are majoring in geology or civil and environmental engineering. Under his direction, the class of 27 budding hydrogeologists operates underground cameras, meters and other state-of-the-art equipment at the monitoring sites to map patterns of groundwater flow and record variations in temperature, chemical composition and pressure. The boreholes will be used for teaching purposes and not as a water source.
Monitoring wells are uncommon on university campuses in the Boston area. According to Garven, it is more conventional and easier to stick with textbooks or theoretical models. The advantage of having a borehole monitoring system on campus, he says, is that students can translate theory into real world practice. It's an approach he likens to teaching someone how to drive. "One can learn in theory how to drive a car by reading books and watching DVDs perhaps but the best way is to take driving lessons in a real car," he says.
Having a well system on campus also eliminates the need for Garven to take his class on field trips to Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, where the federal government maintains monitoring systems to evaluate groundwater conditions as part of a cleanup program there. Garven's classes have used the wells for their field trips. "It was very time consuming – just getting there and back required a whole day, and access is limited," he explains.
On Tufts' campus, Garven sited the boreholes at different elevations. His first monitoring well, and the one that tapped the aquifer, was drilled behind the Olin Center at the highest elevation on Tufts' campus. The other two wells were drilled at lower elevations – one near the Campus Center and a third site near the Powderhouse rotary at the campus periphery. Each borehole reaches about 120 to 200 feet into the Earth. The installations were made possible by startup funding from the geology department and the School of Arts and Sciences. Professor Garven also holds a secondary appointment in the Tufts School of Engineering.
Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.
Alexander Reid | Newswise Science News
Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming
19.10.2017 | Rice University
NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy