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Timothy Eaton

Assistant Professor

Science Building, Room E212
Phone: 718-997-3327

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Research Interests

My research interests are in the areas of groundwater and surface water hydrology, numerical modeling to understand hydrologic exchanges, and in the use of shallow subsurface geophysics to characterize shallow aquifer systems in urban settings.

Groundwater and surface water systems in urban areas are often highly transformed by urbanization. Changes in land use affect runoff and infiltration processes, and changes in municipal water supply sources cause aquifer drawdown and recovery. Baseflow in streams that has been reduced by long-term groundwater pumping can recover as the water table rebounds. This is the case in the largely urbanized area in Queens.

Water quality in urban estuaries depends on the amounts and quality of surface water and groundwater discharge into them. In both Flushing Bay and Alley Creek/Little Neck Bay on the north shore of Queens, water quality has been severely degraded by many decades of discharges from combined sewer overflows (CSO). However, major improvements are currently being made in the stormwater infrastructure to retain and treat these CSO discharges. At the same time, groundwater discharge is projected to increase from the rebounding water table, since current municipal supply is no longer from the aquifer but primarily from the upstate reservoir and aqueduct system. With several graduate students, I am currently studying salinity and water quality changes in the Alley Pond Park wetlands as a result of these changes.

My interest in geological heterogeneity and how it affects groundwater flow, previously applied to bedrock aquitards in Wisconsin, has now shifted to the issue of water resources and natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale.  I am also interested in shallow aquifers in urbanized environments. Up to 20% of the land surface in NYC is composed of artificial fill that has replaced tidal wetlands. Groundwater discharges through these materials, about which little is known. Subsurface geophysical methods, such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and earth resistivity, can be used to image these sediments. I am interested in using these technologies to distinguish different types of materials, natural and anthropogenic, and understand their impact on groundwater quality.

Teaching Philosophy and Interests

My teaching interests are natural resources and environment, surface and groundwater hydrology, shallow subsurface geophysics, and field methods in environmental sciences.

Courses taught

Undergraduate Classes
  • GEOL025 Natural Resources and the Environment
  • GEOL347 Introductory Hydrology
  • GEOL383 Groundwater Hydrology

Graduate Classes

  • GEOL 745 Hydrology
  • GEOL 746 Groundwater Hydrology
  • GEOL 761 Field Methods in Hydrology
  • GEOL 762 Shallow Subsurface Geophysics


Eaton, T.T. 2009. Engaging students and evaluating learning progress in an introductory environmental science course. Journal of Geoscience Education, 57(2) March issue

Eaton, T.T. and C. Yi. 2008. Hydroperiod and hydraulic loading for treatment potential in urban tidal wetlands. Hydrology and Earth System Science Discussions*, 6: 1-37

Eaton, T.T., C. Cranganu, and F. Nitsche. 2007. Resistivity profiling and GPR for characterization of urban fill and buried infrastructure. GSA Abstracts w/Programs, Vol.39, No.6

Eaton, T.T. 2007. Analytical estimates of hydraulic parameters for an urbanized estuary – Flushing Bay. Journal of Hydrology,347(1-2): 188-196, doi 10.1016/j.jhydrol.200709/018

Eaton, T.T., M.P. Anderson, and K.R. Bradbury. 2007. Fracture control of ground water flow and water chemistry in a rock aquitard. Ground Water 45, 601-615

Eaton, T.T. 2006. Hydrogeology – principles and practice. Invited book review. Ground Water 44(3): 326. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2006.00214.x

Cherry, J.A., B.L. Parker, K.R. Bradbury, T.T. Eaton, M.B. Gotkowitz, D.J. Hart, and M.A. Borchardt. 2006. Contaminant Transport Through Aquitards: A State of the Science Review, American Water Works Association Research Foundation Report 91133a, 126 p.

Bradbury K.R., M.B. Gotkowitz, D.J. Hart, T.T. Eaton, J.A. Cherry, B.L. Parker, M.A. Borchardt. 2006. Contaminant Transport Through Aquitards: Technical Guidance for Aquitard Assessment,American Water Works Association Research Foundation Report 91133b, 144 p.

Eaton, T.T. 2006. On the importance of geological heterogeneity for flow simulation. Sedimentary Geology 184(3-4): 187-201

Eaton, T.T. 2006. Heterogeneity in sedimentary aquifers: challenges for characterization and for flow modeling. Sedimentary Geology 184(3-4): 183-186

Eaton, T.T. and K.R. Bradbury. 2003. Hydraulic transience and the role of bedding fractures in a bedrock aquitard, southeastern Wisconsin, USA, Geophysical Research Letters 30(18). doi:10.1029/2003GL017913


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