SURF

Allison Zau

Seismic Detection of Groundwater Aquifers in Critical Montane Meadow Ecosystems

Riparian meadows in the Sierra Nevada facilitate access to near-surface groundwater, a resource critical to sustaining the productivity and biodiversity of the larger montane ecosystems. Historically, the groundwater flow is consistently recharged by snowmelt percolating down from snowpack at higher elevation. However, climate change is depleting this critical snowpack, destabilizing the groundwater flow and consequently the ecosystem. Using seismic surveys I conducted last year, I will produce cross-sections of a characteristic meadow. These will provide information on the near-surface groundwater distribution and composition and geometry of the soil and rock bedding. I can then evaluate how the landscape affects the relative volume and movement of groundwater. Understanding these subsurface controls on groundwater availability will inform meadow conservation efforts.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for providing the opportunity to conduct independent research and contribute to the conservation of montane meadows!
  • Major: Geophysics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hill Foundation
  • Mentor: Matt Kondolf