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John Hermance

Professor Emeritus:
Geological Sciences
Phone: +1 401 863 3339
Phone 2: +1 401 863 3339

My research is in the area of environmental geophysics and hydrology. I advocate preserving the subsurface environment through non-invasive investigations using methods such as ground penetrating radar, magnetic surveys, and DC resistivity. This offers cost-effective means for obtaining a quantitative, spatially representative overview of subsurface conditions and avoids puncturing drums of common toxins which could enormously complicate site remediation and threaten the natural environment.


I received my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 1967 and served as a Research Associate at MIT for one year before joining the Brown Faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1968. I have 30+ years experience as a professor, developing a range of courses and electronic mediated instructional materials in theoretical geophysics, hydrology and risk assessment of natural hazards. I am a consultant to industry, public groups, private individuals and the legal profession in a variety of lead and support roles. My major research interests include: environmental geophysics and hydrology, particularly those activities related to groundwater and watershed studies. I have directed numerous geophysical field projects in Iceland, the Azores, the Yukon, Canada, major volcanic centers in the western United States, and the Northeast U.S.


My major research interests currently focus on environmental geophysics and hydrology, particularly those activities related to groundwater and watershed studies in the Northeast U.S. Over the past three decades, I have directed numerous geophysical field projects in Iceland, the Azores, the Yukon, Canada, major volcanic centers in the western United States, and the northeastern United States.

My current geophysical/hydrological field investigations include developing collaborations with academic, industry and private sector partners to address the following research issues:

Watershed characterization, groundwater studies, aquifer characterization, & subsurface flow modeling;

Development of adaptive signal processing techniques to extract temporal and spatial vegetation signatures from remote sensing data;

Site studies assessing presence and potential migration of hazardous materials, including chemicals, solvents and fuels, among others;

Development of new geophysical procedures applied to groundwater investigations, as well as to delineating subsurface infrastructure: pipelines, underground storage tanks, foundations, etc.


Best Presentation Award, Society of Exploration Geophysicists Annual Meeting, 1974.


American Geophysical Union

Society of Exploration Geophysicists

National Ground Water Association; Association of Ground Water Scientists & Engineers

Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society

Member NASA/MAGSAT Investigators' Team

Member Inter-Union Commission on the Lithosphere/CC-5.

OSHA Certified: Health & Safety Operations at Hazardous Materials Sites 29 CFR 1910.120 (e) (3).


GEOL 0580: Foundations of Physical Hydrology
GEOL 1580: Quantitative Elements of Physical Hydrology
GEOL 1590: Quantitative Modeling of Hydrologic Processes
GEOL 1600: Environmental & Engineering Geophysics
GEOL 1960: Concepts & Processes in Physical Hydrology

Graduate Students:
Luis Alvarez, Sc.M. '82
Michael Baer, Sc.M. '86
Rabi Bohidar, Ph.D. '01
Hjalmar Eysteinsson, Ph.D. '88
Larry Grillot, Ph.D. '73
Robert Jacob, Ph.D. '06
Joshua Keshet, Sc.M. '84
Daniel Likarish, Sc.M. '76
Steven Lusi, Sc.M. '87
Ruchard Nopper, Sc.M. '75
Jens Pedersen, Ph.D. '80
Bededito Rodrigues, Sc.M. '87
Michael Rossen, Sc.M. '84
Jeffrey Sullivan, Sc.M. '99
Richard Thayer, Ph.D. '75
Weizhong Wang, Ph.D. '93
Jing-Yu Yang, Sc.M. '85

Funded Research

National Science Foundation (NSF), Department Of Energy, Office of Naval Research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the United States Geological Survey, contributed approximately 3.8 million dollars in federal funding from 1968 through 1992.

Present Activity: Since 1992, principal research interests have changed from federally-funded projects to working with private sector partners in developing a focus on environmental geophysics and hydrology at Brown University. Over the past several years, a number of separate research projects involving environmental field investigations ranging from site assessments to groundwater studies in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Long Island and upper New York State were initiated and completed under support from Conrad Geosciences Corporation (New York State), a non-profit citizens group (NSCPR) and a number of private sector contractors. By-products of this activity include real-life, practical hands-on field experience for graduate and undergraduate students; opportunities for the PI to work on basic research problems of societal importance; and funding to support the acquisition of instrumentation for research and instruction not available from conventional sources. Several proposals developed and submitted to NSF/Hydrology focussed on using noninvasive geophysics to characterize the subsurface of watersheds, while received with interest and encouragement, have not been funded.

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Curriculum Vitae

Download John Hermance's Curriculum Vitae in PDF Format