Department of Geology
ASU Box 32067
572 Rivers Street
Boone, NC 28608
Phone: 828-262-7540


My research program uses groundwater modeling techniques and field data collection to quantify the controls on groundwater flow and solute and heat transport through unconfined aquifers. In general, this water begins as recharge and flows through an unconfined aquifer until it returns to the surface through some form of groundwater discharge (submarine groundwater discharge in marine settings, baseflow in riparian settings). I study this general problem in a variety of settings, from coastal barrier and barrier-island aquifers of the Outer Banks and southwestern England and Wales to the alluvial aquifers adjacent to mountain streams in northwestern North Carolina. Climate controls drive variations in groundwater flux in unconfined aquifers and, therefore, they also drive my research. Field-data collections and laboratory experiments (numerical and analytical simulations) are the tools that I use to conduct experiments with field data or to generate synthetic data for analysis.

My research involves a variety of collaborations. I work extensively with undergraduate students on a variety of projects related to stream temperature, stream salinity, and groundwater modeling. Much of this work focuses on the role that urbanization plays in the transfer of heat and salt to streams and riparian aquifers. My students work at a number of levels, from simple data collection projects to more complex groundwater modeling projects. Many of these students present at professional meetings, complete a Senior Thesis, or publish their research in peer-reviewed journals. I also collaborate with faculty at ASU and around the world. In the Department of Geology, I collaborate with Dr. Chuanhui Gu on groundwater/surface-water interaction research. Outside of the department, Dr. Kristan Cockerill and I have spent the past four years studying the urban stream syndrome using Boone Creek as our field area. Our first paper, published by the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA), won the 2015 Boggess Award for the best paper published by JAWRA during 2014. I also collaborate internationally. During the spring and summer 2011, I spent seven months as a Visiting Fellow at Plymouth University, UK, where I worked with Dr. Roland Gehrels on a project looking at new methods of reconstructing past changes in sea level. This work began in southern Devon, UK, and resulted in a paper published in the journal Marine Geology in 2014. We have continued this collaboration and have expanded its scope to include sites in southwestern and northwestern Wales. We have also added a graduate student from the University of York, UK, Mr. Geoff Richards. This work is on-going.

News and Updates

  • December 2016 - Bill is a co-author on a publication in the journal Environmental Geosciences by Eric Avalos, a former M.S. student at Illinois State University (ISU) whom Bill helped to advise while in the UK. The paper, "Two-dimensional seismic refraction tomography of a buried bedrock valley at Hallsands Beach, Devon, UK," is also co-authored by ISU colleagues DH Malone and EW Peterson and University of York colleague WR Gehrels.
  • August 2016 - Bill attends the EcoStream Conference in Asheville, NC, and presents a poster, co-authored by ASU colleague Kristan Cockerill, titled Stormwater management as a prescription for 'urban stream syndrome.'
  • May 2015 - Bill's undergraduate research student, Alex Beck, defends his Senior Thesis, which is entitled Quantifying and describing groundwater discharge using streambed temperatures in Boone Creek.
  • March 2015 - Bill's undergraduate research student, Kelli Straka, presents the poster Effects of road salt application on water quality in a mountainous headwater stream at the Southeast Section meeting of the Geological Society of America in Chattanooga, TN.
  • February 2015 - AGU and Wiley publish the book Coastal Environments and Global Change, which is edited by Bill's former Plymouth University colleagues G. Masselink and W.R. Gehrels. Bill contributes "Chapter 6 - Coastal Groundwater."
  • December 2014 - Bill's undergraduate student, Sonia Sanchez-Lohff, defends her Senior Thesis entitled Analysis of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal strength on precipitation statistics, North Carolina, USA.
  • September 2014 - ASU colleague Kristan Cockerill and Bill present Avoid fale images in restoring urban streams at the EcoStream Conference in Charlotte, NC.
  • May 2014 - Bill presents a poster co-authored by University of York, UK, colleague W.R. Gehrels at the European Geosciences Union Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria. The poster is entitled Reconstructing Holocene sea-level change from coastal freshwater peat: A combined empirical and model-based approach.
  • May 2014 - Bill and University of York, UK, colleague WR Gehrels publish "Reconstructing Holocene sea-level change from coastal freshwater peat: A combined empirical and model-based approach" in the journal Marine Geology.
  • May 2014 - "Air-stream temperature correlation in forested and urban headwater streams in the Southern Appalachians" by Chuanhui Gu, Bill, and others, is published by the journal Hydrological Processes.
  • March 2014 - Bill's undergraduate research student, Claire Harris, presents a talk entitled Temperature surge characteristics in a dynamic and urbanized headwater stream at the Southeast Section meeting of the Geological Society of America in Chattanooga, TN.
  • October 2013 - University colleague Kristan Cockerill and Bill have a manuscript published by the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. The paper is entitled "Creating false images: Stream restoration in an urban setting."
  • July 2013 - University of York colleague W.R. Gehrels and Bill co-author Holocene sea-level reconstructions from freshwater backbarrier peat systems, which is presented by Dr. Gehrels at the All at Sea Conference at the University of York, UK.
  • July 2013 - Bill is promoted to Professor of Geology and becomes the Chair of the Department of Geology.
  • September 2012 - Departmental colleague Dr. Chuanhui Gu, Bill, and Federico Maggi of the University of Sydney, Australia, have a manuscript published by Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, entitled "Riparian biogeochemical hot moments induced by stream fluctuations."